Where to move for groundwater access in B.C., Metro Vancouver, and the Fraser Valley
Sometimes, picking a place to move in B.C., when you have options, presents a set of considerations. To some, groundwater, or well water access is important. As they say, real estate is all about location, location, location. The importance of location to you may be the idea of having a water source that is either cheap in the long run, controlled by you, or avoids surface water contaminants. Whatever your reason, we’ll discuss where to move for groundwater access in B.C., particularly in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley (though principles can apply to other parts of the province).
What you should know about Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley water before you move here
If you’re moving to B.C. from another area, and are used to some complaints people may have about water purity, you may not find those to be issues you’ll face after you move. You see, at least in Metro Vancouver, water does not contain added fluoride. There are opposers and proponents of fluoride out there, and we’re not here tomake the argument either way. It simply stands as a fact that you’re less likely to face added fluoride in your water if you move to B.C. Water is also soft, which affects its taste.
Not only that, but some complaints about surface water contaminations in other cities are less likely to present a problem in B.C. Some people fear that pharmacy-no-rx.net pharmaceuticals can be found in their water source. However, in Metro Vancouver, surface water reservoirs are so highly placed in their elevation, that most of this is not a concern.
Water is treated for health and safety in Metro Vancouver, and is chlorinated (though filtration, UV and Ozone processes are also used). While some choose to use extra filters for their drinking water source (or sometimes even for their showers), generally speaking (barring unusual circumstances, and with the best knowledge we have on hand), water in the area is safe to drink from the tap. Water boil advisories may be published at some times of the year when necessary, however.
Here is a map showing how water is distributed throughout the Metro Vancouver region:
With the above knowledge in hand, though groundwater may be important to some, it’s also wise to consider the cost and payoff of moving for groundwater access inB.C. It may not present as many benefits as it would in other cities in North America or around the world. A home water filter may do the trick for you.
If you want to tap into an existing public well or aquifer for groundwater access when you move to B.C.
Believe it or not, this is not as easy to find out online as one would think. Some municipalities in Metro Vancouver may service residents with groundwater through a city-maintained well. This does not seem to avoid any treatment processes, however, if you have a concern of such. The main example we’ve found is the Watershed well inDelta, B.C., which serves residents south of 64th Street (see “1.0 SYSTEM OVERVIEW” in this doc).
If well water access is important to you, and you prefer not having to maintain your own water source on your property, moving near city wells like this one are something to ask your realtor about. You may also need to call city halls and find out if neighbourhoods you’re moving to access existing groundwater sources managed by the city, such as the one in Delta.
Fraser Valley groundwater is extra special, and a possible reason to move to Abbotsford
Interestingly, parts of Abbotsford have won awards for groundwater purity. In the Fraser Valley, it is more likely you’ll see options for groundwater access. This may mean buying a property connected to a built-in private well, or having your own well dug. We’ll discuss digging your own well later.
The thing to know here is that since the Fraser Valley sits on a lower plateau compared to mountainous Metro Vancouver, and is near rivers, groundwater access is more likely, regardless of the city you choose to move to in the Fraser Valley.
However, some municipalities can purchase or access water from surface reservoirs, lakes or streams, so again, you’ll need to make calls, or talk to your realtor to make absolutely sure what your neighbourhood’s water source will be. In fact, as the Abbotsford and Mission area grows, finding a new water source is becoming a political issue. It may be that your current city water source could change in the next couple decades, if you move to Abbotsford or Mission. And, as noted in this article, several municipalities in the Fraser Valley have to deal with their own water sources, and water crises, when they come up. This includes private well owners who face dried-up wells.
You can dig a well to the property you move to for groundwater access in B.C.
Interestingly, in our modern day and age, city dwellers may not realize that if you have the space, budget and capacity to do it, you can dig your own well. Yes, sort of likein the olden days, but today, a lot more modern, and with regulations to ensure safety, such as noted on the City of Chilliwack’s website.
Why do this? Well, some argue that it’s cheaper. However, this is debatable, as there are upfront costs, and ongoing maintenance costs. Plus, there can be a consideration of how much water your well will yield versus how much you need (you’ll need expert help to make a best guess before you dig). The other reason to do this would probably have to do with distance to your city’s water source connection. This would apply if you are moving to a very remote place, for example. And, as noted above, some may simply prefer groundwater for taste, purity, or otherwise.
While you could undertake the project of digging your own well, if you reaaaally wanted to, you probably are more likely to hire professionals to do this. And yes, there are companies that do this, and that can provide more information on this topic, such as this one in the Fraser Valley: http://www.
Well drillers are only one part of the equation here. Some would recommend hiring a well dowser, to avoid digging for nothing, as explained here (by a B.C. area well dowser).
If you do want to do it yourself, Wikihow explains the process here. That said, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you’d be allowed to do it – at least not without some qualifications. B.C. protects its groundwater through legislation that is meant to ensure water is not wasted, or turned into a safety hazard.
So, once you’ve decided the route you want to take for digging your own well on your own property, there are still a few more considerations. We’ll point out some of them here:
Space and location considerations when you move for groundwater access:
Ideally, you’ll need to move to a property that can give you enough allowance for both your house, and the space around the well that is needed for it to be legal, and safe. Wells need to be positioned so that the property’s water source is not contaminated (such as by flooding, wastewater, and so on). Plus, they need to follow municipal guidelines for placement from property lines, if there are any.
Maintaining wells, and sealing abandoned wells after you move to B.C.
When you dig your own well, you not only have to maintain your own pump, equipment, and get your water tested frequently. You also will be responsible for sealing the well if you decide to abandon it, to avoid contamination of groundwater. This will be an ongoing cost for you.
It will be up to you to do your research to find out if the cost here is worth it for you, as opposed to tapping into city source water. Some will claim that costs are minimalafter the initial investment to dig a well, and that the payoff of clean-tasting water is worth it. Keep in mind though, there are electricity costs to keep the pump working, and you’ll need a constant power source to maintain water supply (or dread through power outages with bottled reserves).
Finding aquifers when moving for groundwater access in B.C.
In B.C., finding existing aquifers for digging a well is something you can do through documented research. The documentation may take some prior knowledge tounderstand, however. But when hiring an engineer or well-digger, you can reference these sources, or ask them about it.
Here are pages to get you started:
- BC Environmental Protection & Sustainability, Water Data & Tools page
- Ministry of Environment, Water Protection & Sustainability Branch, page on Aquifers
- BC Oil & Gas Commission, links to Water Tools (for Northern B.C. data, and primarily for oil and gas industries)
- Also, the the British Columbia Ground Water Association (BCGWA) may have information, if you get in touch.
To conclude: moving to B.C. for ground water access involves a lot of research
As you can see from the above, there is a lot to research and consider if you want to move for groundwater access in B.C. It’s not as simple as grabbing a shovel and digging in your backyard. Ok, that was a joke – though it might make a fun kids’ project, if you don’t mind the mess! Nonetheless, regulations and costs are important matters to look into before you decide to dig your own well. And if you are simply looking for a clean water source before you move, you may be happy with B.C. water as it is. Or, if groundwater is important to you, try finding a neighbourhood in a municipality that can offer well-water, keeping mind it will likely still be treated. The Fraser Valley may be the best option for this.
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