Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Hart, S. 2006. Water supply and water quality monitoring in the Homathko River basin. Prepared for Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Organization Nature Conservancy of Canada
URL http://www.natureconservancy.ca/assets/documents/bc/tatlayoko/Water_Supply_and_Quality_Monitoring_in_the_Homathko_Rive.pdf
Abstract/Description or Keywords The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has an interest in maintaining high water quality and
adequate water supply in the upper Homathko basin, both for human use and for protection of
aquatic habitat. This study was initiated by NCC to provide baseline hydrologic information that
could be used for analysis of trends in water quality and supply and for evaluation of potential
impacts on water resources. Hydrologic data will also serve as a foundation for further scientific
research in the basin, a function which the Nature Conservancy is undertaking to support.
In rural basins without intensive land uses (such as feedlots or high density subdivisions), the
causes of water quality deterioration are typically numerous, individually minor, and widely
dispersed. For example, sources of sediment related to land use activities can be disturbed
channel banks, exposed field soils, compacted surfaces, roads, and drainage and irrigation
ditches. Because rural water quality declines due to additions from many such sources, it is
difficult for government agencies to regulate practices to maintain water quality. The most
effective watershed management occurs where community residents take the responsibility upon
themselves. In fact, there’s little likelihood of maintaining high water quality without active
local involvement. To be successful at this effort, knowledge of the nature and magnitude of
water supply and water quality conditions is required.
An additional cause of water quality and water supply change in the Homathko basin will be
climate change. A warming climate could result in hydrologic effects such as an increasing
proportion of winter precipitation as rain, earlier spring runoff, diminishing meltwater supply
from alpine snowpatches and glaciers, and a prolonged summer low flow period with warmer
temperatures causing higher rates of evaporation and transpiration (e.g., http://www.env.gov.
bc.ca/air/climate/indicat/timevol_id1.html for further information). As has been found elsewhere
in the province (Leith and Whitfield, 1998), such changes may already be underway in the
Homathko basin. Climate change could place increasing pressure on water resources and
necessitate especially careful water management practices.
As a landowner in the basin, and having a particular interest in water conservation, the NCC is
seeking to collect information about current water quality and water supply conditions in order to
support their own and other landowners’ efforts to protect this resource. The objectives of this
year’s program are the following:
• to measure precipitation variation within the basin at snowcourses and rain gauges located
to supplement the existing network of stations;
• to collect baseline watershed hydrology and water quality data at representative stations;
• to establish a water quality laboratory and analyze selected parameters for samples
collected; and
• in a final report, to provide a description of the Homathko basin, to report the 2006
season’s research methods, and to present analyses of the hydrometeorologic and water
quality data.
Information Type report
Regional Watershed Central Coast
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name
Contact Email