NEW: Blog Post #45 – Developing a new regulation under the Water Sustainability Act

Water is one of BC’s most important natural resources and must be managed appropriately to protect both human and ecosystem health. This is why the Province is pleased to be moving ahead with the development of a new regulation under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA). The regulation is an important tool that is broadly utilized in other provincial legislation known as administrative monetary penalties (AMPs).

WSA was designed to ensure a sustainable supply of fresh, clean water to meet the needs of B.C. residents today and in the future.​ Violations under the WSA are an issue across multiple sectors including residential development​, agriculture and industrial sectors. Currently, the WSA relies on violation tickets, orders​ and prosecution through the courts. AMPs bridge the gap between tickets and prosecution and are already enabled through the WSA.

Why now?

With 25% of the fresh flowing water in Canada, British Columbia appears to be richly endowed with clean water. However, the increase in population growth, the expansion of industry and agriculture, and the ongoing threat of climate change all place enormous pressure on the province’s water supply. We are hearing from communities that water violations are an ongoing concern. Additional water enforcement tools such as AMPs will help to reduce the cumulative effects of authorized and unauthorized uses on water quantity and quality.

What’s next?

The WSA sets out the AMP framework and there are number of details to develop in partnership with First Nations including:

  • Comptroller’s authority to determine a contravention has occurred​
  • How a penalty is assessed and imposed​
  • How users are notified​
  • Requirement to provide for an opportunity to be heard​
  • Recovery and payment of penalty amounts​
  • Authority to enter into Compliance Agreements and how they may be applied​
  • Appeals of AMP decisions​
  • Other legal and procedural details

The Province aims to have a WSA AMPs regulation in place by early 2024.