Living Water Smart ENV:EX <LivingWaterSmart@gov.bc.ca
Dear Partners in Water Stewardship:
On February 29, 2016, the provincial government brought the Water Sustainability Act into force along with the first phase of regulations. The Water Sustainability Act updates and replaces the old Water Act and delivers on an important government commitment to ensure our water stays healthy and secure.
The new laws include licensing requirements for non-domestic groundwater users, e.g., irrigation, waterworks, industrial, or power purpose. An application for an authorization (licence or use approval) for non-domestic use of groundwater must be submitted on or before March 1st, 2019 to be in compliance with the law. To encourage users to apply early, the application fee waiver period for existing non-domestic groundwater users has been extended to December 31st, 2017.
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.
There are benefits to getting your groundwater licence application in early. By submitting an application for existing non-domestic groundwater use, government will have the knowledge of your use and be able to consider it during water scarcity, when reviewing other applications, and to provide notice when other applications may affect the security of your water.
Domestic groundwater use is exempt from licensing and fees. A domestic groundwater user has a well and uses that water for household purposes, such as drinking, washing, watering a garden, or providing water for domestic animals and poultry. Domestic well owners are encouraged to register their well to make their water use known so it can be protected. Submit a well registration form to Groundwater@gov.bc.ca. Not sure if your well is already registered? Contact FrontCounter BC.
More information about the Water Sustainability Act and the new regulations can be found here on the Province’s water website. For specific direction and guidance on how to apply for a groundwater licence, please visit FrontCounter BC.
With the size and complexity of the WSA and the number of required regulations, government is implementing the new Act using a phased approach. Work on the next phase of regulations and policies has been initiated on measuring and reporting, livestock watering, water objectives, planning and governance. Check out the latest blog post on the WSA Engagement site where we will continue to post updates as the work progresses.
Living Water Smart Team