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Aquifer Recharge in the North Okanagan

Water in the Okanagan Valley Watershed is a complex and interconnected system. A large portion of inflow into our rivers, streams, lakes, and underground aquifers comes from the highlands surrounding the valley, places like the Aberdeen Plateau and the parks and protected areas above Westside Road as well as the fields and hills surrounding the city of Armstrong. Much of the runoff from these highland areas enter the larger lakes through small creeks and streams, but a significant portion of that runoff enters bedrock aquifers in what is know as a recharge zone. Bedrock formations often create what is known as a confined aquifer which, when drilled into at an elevation lower than the recharge zone, creates what is know as an Artesian Well. This means that the water pressure in the confined aquifer will push water up the well casing, sometimes all the way to surface, spilling onto the ground, which is know as a Flowing Artesian Well. Flowing Artesian Wells are not particularly common, but due to large bedrock formations in the area being recharged from the highland plateaus that surround us, Artesian Wells are actually very common. The Okanagan watercourse begins at Woods Lake which feeds Kalamalka Lake and spills into Swan Lake via Coldstresm Creek and is hydraulically connected to Okanagan Lake through underground water courses, some evidence of these unconfined aquifers can be seen at Otter Lake, which rises and falls with changes in the water table. The Okanagan Lake outflows into the Okanagan River at Penticton and flows to Osooyoos Lake, where it continuers south into Washington State and joins the Columbia River before flowing past the city of Portland and into the Pacific Ocean. Though the total water volume of our lakes are very large, water recharge of our lake systems is only equal to roughly 5 feet of surface water annually, meaning that the vast majority of water in our lakes stays there for a very long time, 75 years on average. This is because outflow of our lakes is very small relative to the volume of water contained in our lakes. All these watercourses are connected and dry summer weather combined with excessive demand affects all water users in our valley. Low lake levels can mean smaller wetland habitats, decreased groundwater storage, and lower water well yields. Pollutants that enter our watershed stay here for a long time as well. Responsible use of our recreation areas in the highlands and on the lakes; responsible agriculture and irrigation practices and mindfulness about the sensitivity and importance of our water resource is crucial for every resident and visitor to maintain. Well Owners can help keep our waterways clean by ensuring their water wells are properly constructed and protected from contamination. If you have a well head that is cut off below grade, or a well cap or cover that is not rodent proof, if ground slopes toward instead of away from your wellhead, or if you have a pump shack that is dirty, cluttered, and has become a nesting ground for rodents, consider calling a Groundwater Contractor who can advise you about simple upgrades that can be made to your water system to make sure you’re not contributing to the contamination of one of our most important resources.

Visit; and check out A River Film; which gives an overview of how our local water sources are managed. #okanagan #lake #okanaganlake #kalamalka #kalamalkalake #vernon #northokanagan #shuswap #thompsonnicola #alberta #lakehouse #summerhouse #calgary #waterservice #waterpump #waterwellpump #pinnacle #pinnaclepumps #watersystem #contractor #waterpumpingsystems #residentialwater #agrictuluralwater #lakesystemdesign #installation #waterwelltesting #estimates #existingwatersystems #contractors #qualifiedwellpumpinstaller #bcgroundwaterassociation #britishcolumbia #freeestimates #waterpressure #maintenance #waterleak #waterpressure #brokenpump #repair

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