Since the Water Sustainability Act came into effect on February 29, 2016, the Ministries of Environment and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations have been developing proposals to fine-tune existing regulations and develop a new regulation on livestock watering. Current work includes the development of policies and regulations associated with:
- Amending the definition of a “well” in the Groundwater Protection Regulation
- Clarifying water use for mineral exploration and placer mining activities (see Blog Post #20)
- Managing drainage of non-contact water at mine sites
- Enabling access to water for community firefighting and related training
- Protecting stream values while supplying water to livestock
Another focus includes bringing in the 20,000 existing non-domestic groundwater users. Since the Act came into effect, we have reached out to existing users through a number of channels, including distributing over 65,000 information brochures. We have advised local and First Nation governments, improvement districts and sector organizations through emails, meetings, presentations and conference calls. FrontCounterBC has developed detailed step-by-step guidance on how to complete an application to license groundwater use, and workshops are also being planned to assist agricultural and other producers with the application process.
The Province has also extended the application fee waiver period from March 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 to encourage more groundwater users to submit their applications early.
Licensing gives groundwater users greater security and protection. It also helps provide government and users with a more complete picture of groundwater use and the ability to better manage the resource. Visit FrontCounter BC at: www.frontcounterbc.ca for more information, or contact FrontCounter BC staff at 1-877-855-3222 for assistance.
The Province is also extending the temporary exemption to the end of 2017 for water use for mineral exploration and placer mining activities (see Blog Post #20). Policy work on this exemption has taken longer than anticipated and a permanent amendment is being proposed for decision in 2017.
Check back regularly for progress on this work and initiation of the next phase of regulations and policy.