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Extension of Fee Waiver Period for Existing Groundwater Use Applications

Living Water Smart ENV:EX <LivingWaterSmart@gov.bc.ca 

Dear Partners in Water Stewardship:

Waiver period for existing groundwater use applications extended

Waiver period for existing groundwater use applications extended to end of 2017.

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.

Regards,

Living Water Smart Team

Email: livingwatersmart@gov.bc.ca

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B.C. Announced $148.5 million for Water and Wastewater

Water Canada September 29, 2016.

$148 million to go to water infrastructure in BC.

$148 million to go to water infrastructure in BC.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has announced $148.5 million in provincial funding for the new Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund is an infrastructure program that will enable critical investments in local government infrastructure to get underway, specifically supporting long term benefits in the rehabilitation of water, wastewater and stormwater systems, and for the planning and design of future facilities and upgrades to existing wastewater systems.

All local governments throughout the province are eligible to apply for funding. Approved projects will be cost shared 50 per cent by the Government of Canada and 33 per cent by the Province of British Columbia, with the remaining 17 per cent contribution coming from the local government. This agreement will be finalized on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, prior to the conclusion of the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Victoria.

The Government of Canada introduced the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund in Budget 2016 to improve local government infrastructure in categories of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater as well as project planning and design.

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PNW reps urge action on Columbia River Treaty

Dan Wheat,  Capital Press Published on August 12, 2016 10:53AM

U.S. legislators want to modernize Columbia River Treaty with Canada

U.S. legislators want to modernize the Columbia River Treaty with Canada

Five U.S. senators and 16 U.S. House members from the Pacific Northwest sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter Aug. 11 urging the State Department to begin negotiations with Canada to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.

The State Department has stated it intended to start negotiations this year, but despite multiple letters from Congress urging it to do so and receiving regional recommendations almost three years ago, it has not, said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., part of the bipartisan group that signed the letter.

“Treaty modernization and negotiations with Canada directly affect the economy, environment and flood control needs of communities we represent,” the legislators wrote in the letter.

The State Department needs to conclude a review process, approve negotiation parameters, press Canada to appoint a lead negotiator and begin negotiations, the letter states.

The treaty was ratified in 1964 and has not been revised since. Updating it will allow the U.S. and Canada to find new solutions for river management that could provide new opportunities for cooperation on critical clean energy solutions such as smart grids with intermittent power and grid-scale storage, the members said.

Regional recommendations include balancing ecosystem functions including salmon recovery, flood control and hydropower generation.

Senators who signed the letter are: Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both D-Wash.; Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both D-Ore.; and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

House Republicans signing the letter are: Newhouse, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Jaime Herrera-Beutler and Dave Reichert, all of Washington; Greg Walden, Oregon; Mike Simpson, Idaho; and Ryan Zinke, Montana.

House Democrats signing are: Adam Smith, Denny Heck, Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer and Rick Larsen, all of Washington; Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter De Fazio and Kurt Schrader, all of Oregon.

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