The provincial government intends to bring the Water Sustainability Act into force in early 2016.
The new Water Sustainability Act (Bill 18) received Royal Assent in May 2014 and will replace the existing Water Act. Given the size and complexity of the legislation, the Province is using a phased approach to developing the associated regulations. During 2015, work has focussed on developing new and updated regulations related to groundwater use, well construction and maintenance, dam safety, compliance, and new water fees and rentals. Much of this work has been informed by the Province’s policy intentions papers that were released last July.
Once the WSA and new regulations come into force, those who use groundwater for non-domestic purposes (e.g., irrigation, industrial purposes, water bottling, municipal water supply) will need to apply for a water licence. Surface water and non-domestic groundwater users will also be subject to the new fees and rentals announced in February 2015. In response to public concerns around water pricing, government will also be further reviewing the fees and rentals as we implement the Water Sustainability Act.
More information will be provided when the Water Sustainability Act is brought into force in early 2016. At that time, specific direction on how to apply for a groundwater licence will also be available at FrontCounter BC. For more information please visit the Water Sustainability Act website.