Story by Sharon Vanhouwe, Vista Radio

People often assume our water supply is limitless, but between contamination and over-use, we have to wonder: how much water is really available?

Vancouver Island University Geography Professor, Dr. Alan Gilchrist and a Master of Geographic Information Systems Applications student have partnered with the BC Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, as well as the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley Regional District to develop a water budget.

“Humans can’t use all this water because there are other organisms that rely on it, plants and animals and all those kinds of things, a whole ecosystem,” said Gilchrist.

“What we’re going to be able to do is, hopefully have a sense of how much water is in the entire system and how much of that can reasonably be used by humans.”

Gilchrist said knowing where, when and how much water is flowing into or out of an area will determine how much is left for human use and where stresses or water shortages exist, or are developing.

The project is expected to be finished by next fall.