The South Fork Dam was constructed in 1930, as a concrete arch dam that impounds approximately 2 billion litres. This is where the intake pipe for the City of Nanaimo's drinking water extracts water to transport to the City.
Report - Nanaimo River Water Management Plan (1993)
Produced by the Ministry of Environment to ensure effective planning for the water resources of the Nanaimo River and its tributaries and identify management strategies for the long term benefit of all water uses within the watershed. Focused on surface water.
The RDN DWWP program, with the City of Nanaimo, Island Timberlands and TimberWest, offer a full-day field trip for grades 4 & 5 in School District 68, to take students to see where their drinking water comes from. The first part of the trip is at Jump Lake Dam, with the second stop being the RDN Nanaimo River Regional Park in the lower watershed.
The Nanaimo River Water Region starts at Fourth Lake and follows the Nanaimo River down to the estuary across from downtown Nanaimo. The total drainage area is approximately 939 sq. km.
Its land base includes RDN Electoral areas A and C, and provides the drinking water for the City of Nanaimo.
For a zoomed-in map of the lower Nanaimo River water region - the Cedar and Yellow Point area - please click here.
Base LayerLand UseWater SupplyAquifersStreams & WaterbodiesFirst Nations SignificanceCommunity Programs
The extent of the Nanaimo River Water Region, spans into the upper elevations of the Island Mountain Range, to Mount El Capitain (1,537 m) near Jump Lake. The predominant land use in the upper watershed is unpopulated private managed forestry land.
The Jump Lake watershed (a sub-watershed within the Nanaimo River water region) is designated as a Community Watershed by the Province, for special regulatory protection as it is a basin that drains into the drinking water source (Jump Lake) for the City of Nanaimo.
In the lower water region, there is some farm-related land use, rural residential areas, the village centre of Cedar.
For a zoomed-in map of the lower Nanaimo River water region - the Cassidy, South Wellington and Cedar-Yellow Point area - please click here.
There are two Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Areas that overlap this water region, each of which have Official Community Plans (OCPs) for their land base:
Education and networking opportunities exist for smaller water system operators, such as mobile home parks, restaurants, campsites, gas stations etc. The Water Purveyor Working Group meets annually, Team WaterSmart has information on what you can do to conserve and protect our water supply.
In this water region, there are bedrock aquifers and sand and gravel aquifers that are the main source of drinking water in the areas outside the municipality of Nanaimo. Aquifers are underground areas that store water, either in bedrock fractures or in the pore space between sand and gravel. This includes provincially mapped aquifers 162, 164, 165, 168, 963, 964 (bedrock) and aquifers 160, 161, 163 (sand and gravel). See the BC Water Resource Atlas for a close-up map of these aquifers.
This water region captures the drainage basin of the Nanaimo River, including important tributaries: Jump Creek, South Nanaimo River, Haslam Creek - which all drain into the Salish Sea at the Strait of Georgia. There are several headwater lakes including Fourth Lake, Nanaimo Lakes and Jump Lake. Jump Lake has a large capacity dam that stores water for City of Nanaimo residents' drinking water and Nanaimo River fish flows.
The RDN Phase 1 Water Budget Study (2013) looked at supply and demand on surface water resources in Water Region 6, based on available data.
First Nations Significance
This water region is within the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw First Nation . This area is rich with cultural significance and the waters and lands are closely connected with First Nations peoples and their ancestors.
There were six Salish languages (Hul'qami'num, Snuneymuxqun, Sqo'mish, she shashishalhem, Tla'amin, Comox, and Pentlatch) spoken traditionally in the RDN. In addition, Nuu chah Nulth, Kwakwala, and Sencothen languages would also bump up against the boundaries of the district. And Chinook was also used as a trading language.
Each piece of land is known by different families, communities, First Nations, dialects and languages by similar and dissimilar names. The land belongs to the name. The name does not belong to the land. In this way, there is more than one "Qualicum", for example: one near Port Renfrew and one also near Bellingham.
We have recorded here (in partnership with School District 69) as many names as we have been able to find. We recognize that more names are out there, and we are always happy to include them if you are open to sharing with us. Email: creid [at] sd69.bc.ca
Traditional ecological knowledge is vital to understanding our watersheds and their health.
Rebate programs are available for residents across the region to conserve and protect water. Currently being offered are:
The RDN's Team WaterSmart offers education and outreach programs across the region. They provide activities and resources on water conservation indoors and outdoors, water quality protection, and ecological values.