Cliff Gilker Park Sports Field Groundwater Investigation

Sunshine Coast Regional District, BC, Canada

Project Details

Prime Consultant

Sunshine Coast Regional District

April 2020

September 2020


Environment | Environmental Management | Hydrogeology | Municipal | Water and Wastewater

Project Description

The Sunshine Coast Regional District made the sustainably minded decision to investigate the use of groundwater for irrigation purposes at the Cliff Gilker Park sports field. The park was using potable water to provide irrigation, which caused additional stress on the drinking water system and was subject to variations in availability during drought conditions.

To begin, a desktop assessment was completed that outlined the anticipated hydrogeological conditions, including expected drilling depths, as well as field safety considerations, scheduling, and a communication plan. Due to the Regional District’s limited budget, continual cost updates were provided to ensure that maximum value was reached without exceeding the allocated funds.

A test well was drilled to explore the aquifers underlying the park, with the intention of installing a well capable of producing 0.63 L/s. The hydrogeological conditions were not as expected due to a lack of data in the immediate area, with the target depths producing less than the required volumes. ISL’s advice to the Regional District to drill to the maximum depth possible considering the budget was prudent, as a fractured bedrock aquifer was found that yielded an estimated 3.15 L/s, five times more than is required for irrigation at the park.

The Regional District is considering installing a larger diameter well in this location along with storage options to allow for other parks to utilize this aquifer for irrigation of fields, further reducing the reliance on potable water. The project was completed on time and on budget, and the Regional District appreciated ISL’s approach to project and contractor management, effective communication, professional recommendations, and easy-to-read final report that clearly outlines next steps.



  • A limited budget tied to grant funding required field decisions regarding the depth of drilling to be made quickly, ensuring no drilling rig downtime.
  • A lack of site-specific hydrogeological data resulted in target aquifers being located at greater depths than expected.


  • Daily cost control estimations were provided to the Regional District that included both ISL costs and driller’s time and material costs. This allowed for real-time decision-making on cost/benefit analyses regarding whether to drill deeper given the limited budget.
  • The informed recommendation to drill deeper to encounter a more prolific aquifer resulted in a high yielding well, capable of providing five times the required amount of water. It has also allowed the Regional District to explore utilizing this well to irrigate other parks fields, increasing the sustainability of their potable water system.