Uncapped artesian wells draining aquifer

artesian well2Artesian well in north Langley

If you see a flowing artesian well in the Hopington or surrounding area, please report it to Mike Simpson or call  604-586-4423, the Surrey office of the Ministry of Environment. If you do report a well, please let us know whether you get a satisfactory response.

Constantly flowing artesian wells are a concern in the Salmon River watershed where the Hopington aquifer has been dropping a foot a year for the past 30 years. The aquifer in the watershed is important for keeping the Salmon River productive and for providing water for over 60% of the residents in the area.

Artesian wells are pumpless water sources. Underground water from the aquifer rises to the surface, defying gravity, because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock is relieved when the water finds a path to the open air.

Jim Clark, a local well driller, said he knows one landowner with an artesian well that was pumping 60 gallons per minute. He didn’t know what to do with this water so he built a duck pond and stocked it with a few fish. It drains into a ditch.

There are no maps of artesian wells in Langley and ground water specialists are concerned that they are unused and uncapped  and drawing down the aquifer unnecessarily.

Aquifer recharging is costly. It involves drilling a well so collected water from rooftops or flash flooding can be returned to the aquifer. The water usually has to be treated for contaminants before it can be returned.

There are also disputes over jurisdiction. The Township of Langley maintains it is the provincial government’s responsibility but the province is not providing the resources for enforcement of current regulations. Meanwhile, there is growing competition and demand on this limited resource.

Who has priority rights to this water? At what point will the township council put limits on how much is taken from and who has access to this vital resource?

Other issues

Farming impacts on Langley rivers
Water pipe causes environmental damage
Uncapped artesian wells draining aquifer
Water Sustainability Act
Kinder Morgan Pipeline
Development pressures
Rain/impervious surfaces
Damn beavers!
Endangered species
Invasive species