Between the start of the Water Act Modernization process in 2009, and the coming into force of the Water Sustainability Act and accompanying regulations in 2016, government engaged extensively with British Columbians on everything from the principles of sustainable water management to the details of well construction.

2009-2013: Submissions on the Water Sustainability Act

The following is a list of the written feedback and submissions that government received during the development of the Water Sustainability Act.

Stage 1 Submissions (Dec. 2009 – May 2010) were in response to a Discussion Paper and were summarized in the Report on Engagement, released in September 2010.

Government received approximately 900 written submissions from individuals, First Nation organizations and stakeholder groups. In addition, over 500 par­ticipants attended the Water Act Modernization workshops. Formal submissions were made by sector groups including agriculture, energy, forestry, local government, mining, water industry, professional, community and environmental organizations. Overall, there was broad support for the eight principles and goals described in the Dis­cussion Paper. British Columbians also urged government to:

  • Develop clear standards, processes, responsibilities and expectations for managing BC’s water.
  • Regulate groundwater extraction and use.
  • Improve current water governance arrangements.
  • Proactively protect drinking water, food production, clean energy and ecological health.
  • Recognize land – water connection.
  • Balance ecological protection with economic priorities.
  • Respect First Nations’ interests.
  • Provide more time and additional opportunities to comment.

Stage 2 Submissions (Dec. 2010 – March 2011) were in response to the Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act, released in December 2010.

Stage 3 Submissions (Oct. – Nov. 2013) were in response to the Legislative Proposal released on October 18, 2013.

A – Z Index


2014: Submissions on Water Pricing

In response to Pricing B.C.’s Water, released in March 2014, government received more than 130  submissions from citizens as well as representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, local government, agriculture and academia (March – April).

A – Z Index


Water pricing blog discussion

A consistent message from citizens was that water is undervalued. Strong support was expressed for increasing water rates to better reflect the value of water to people, the environment and the economy. Some users cited the importance of affordable water for agriculture and aquaculture and the link to food security. Others suggested that water that is consumed and removed from a watershed or aquifer should be assessed differently than non-consumptive uses. Industry organizations emphasized the importance of fairness and the potential impacts of increasing water rates on business competitiveness and investment.

The new fees and rentals attempt to strike a balance and are designed to:

  • Further simplify and consolidate the fee and rental rate structure;
  • Generate sufficient revenue to recover the costs necessary to fully implement the Water Sustainability Act and associated programs;
  • Improve fairness and equity by charging fees and rentals for most groundwater uses and then assigning the same rates for similar water uses;
  • Minimize increases to agriculture and aquaculture to help protect food security;
  • Accommodate lower increases for conservation and storage purposes in recognition of their positive ecological and recreational values; and
  • Limit impacts to B.C.’s business competiveness.

2015: Submissions on Initial Set of WSA Regulations

In response to four policy intention papers [LINK to Blog Post #16] released in July 2015, government received written comments from 30 organizations, and 24 individuals (August – September). Through a concurrent process with First Nations, government received 51 additional written submissions from individuals, Aboriginal organizations, and bands about the Water Sustainability Act, the intention papers, and Aboriginal Rights and Title.

  • A – Z Index [LINK]
  • Categories [LINK]
  • Blog Discussion [LINK to post #16]

Submissions addressed a wide range of topics including:

  • Value and importance of water to First Nations and their communities
  • Aboriginal interests, rights and title and FITFIR
  • Involvement of First Nations in water management
  • Water reservations for First Nations
  • Notification requirements related to licensing decisions
  • Consideration of water sustainability in licensing decisions
  • Availability and quality of data and information
  • Water pricing, revenue sharing, capacity funding and shared decision-making
  • Connection between fines and orders to the extent of environmental damage
  • Determination of hydraulic connectivity between streams and aquifers
  • Regulatory consistency and agency coordination
  • Length of the water licence review period
  • Requirements for well registration, monitoring and reporting; and decommissioning
  • Managing artesian wells
  • Professional qualifications
  • Groundwater well setbacks and construction standards
  • Requirements related to monitoring risk downstream of a dam

The Living Water Smart Team summarized input related to proposed new regulations and provided it to regulation drafting teams for further consideration by government.

2016 onwards

In 2016 government will start working on other policies and regulatory components required to fully implement the Water Sustainability Act. Development of these policies will include further engagement with First Nations and water stakeholders.


Academia (Stage 1)

Academia (Stage 2)

Academia (Stage 3)

Agriculture (Stage 1)

Agriculture (Stage 2)

Agriculture (Stage 3)

Business (Stage 1)

Business (Stage 2)

Business (Stage 3)

Community Groups (Stage 3)

ENGO (Stage 1)

ENGO (Stage 2)

ENGO (Stage 3)

Federal Government (Stage 3)

First Nations (Stage 1)

First Nations (Stage 2)

First Nations (Stage 3)

Forestry (Stage 1)

Forestry (Stage 2)

Forestry (Stage 3)

Health (Stage 3)

Hydropower (Stage 1)

Hydropower (Stage 2)

Hydropower (Stage 3)

Individual (Stage 1)

Individual (Stage 2)

Individual (Stage 3)

Local Government (Stage 1)

Local Government (Stage 2)

Local Government (Stage 3)

Mining (Stage 1)

Mining (Stage 2)

Mining (Stage 3)

Oil and Gas (Stage 1)

Oil and Gas (Stage 2)

Oil and Gas (Stage 3)

Other Organizations (Stage 3)

Partnership Organizations (Stage 1)

Partnership Organizations (Stage 2)

Partnership Organizations (Stage 3)

Pricing BC's Water

Professional (Stage 1)

Professional (Stage 2)

Professional/Consulting (Stage 3)

Water Industry (Stage 1)

Water Industry (Stage 2)

Water Industry (Stage 3)