Ground Water Canada

B.C. Water Sustainability Act, regs now in effect

March 3, 2016  By Ground Water Canada

Victoria – British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Act is in force as of Feb. 29. The act updates and replaces the old Water Act.

The act and new regulations is designed to help protect water flows for ecosystems and fish, the B.C. government said in a blog post announcing the news. The legistlation includes new and improved requirements for ground water use and licensing, well construction and maintenance, dam safety, and compliance. Much of this work was informed by public comment and the province’s policy intentions papers released last summer, the post noted.

For the first time, those who use ground water for non-domestic purposes such as irrigation, industrial use, water bottling or municipal water systems will require a water licence and pay fees and annual water rentals just like surface water users. For existing ground water users, the regulations provide a three-year transition period in which to apply for a licence; application fees will be waived during the first year. More information about applying for a ground water licence is available from FrontCounterBC and in a WSA overview brochure.


Work on the next phase of regulations and policies, set to begin later this year, includes measuring and reporting, livestock watering, water objectives, planning and governance.

More information about the Water Sustainability Act and the new regulations can be found at

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