The provincial government intends to bring the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) into force in early 2016, along with a set of new and updated regulations and the new fees and rental rates announced in February 2015.
Once the WSA is in effect, those who use groundwater for non-domestic purposes (e.g., irrigation, municipal water supply, mining, water bottling) will need to apply for a water licence. Surface water and groundwater users will also be subject to the new fees and rentals.
Homeowners with wells (i.e., “domestic users”) will be exempt from licensing and fees. Domestic purpose is defined in Section 2 of the Water Sustainability Act.
When applying for a licence, applicants will be asked to provide evidence of their date of first use for the consideration of the statutory decision maker. Potential sources of evidence include: a well log or well construction report; a construction or operating permit; a certificate of public convenience and necessity; a subdivision approval; or other evidence that will demonstrate the construction of works or use of the groundwater. The Licensing Groundwater Use policy paper lists other information that applicants would be asked to provide, including the purpose and quantity of the water use.
More information will be specified in a proposed new Water Sustainability Regulation, to be brought into effect along with the WSA. When the WSA comes into force in early 2016, specific direction on how to apply for a groundwater licence will be available at FrontCounter BC.
Living Water Smart Team