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New Water Sustainability Act Now in Effect

Does it effect you? What you should know...

On February 29, 2016, the provincial government brought the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) 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 WSA and new regulations will help protect water flows for ecosystems and fish and include new and improved requirements for groundwater use and licensing, well construction and maintenance, dam safety, and compliance.  Much of this work was informed by public comment and responses to the Province’s policy intentions papers that were released last summer.

Key changes include new licensing requirements for non-domestic groundwater use such as irrigation, industrial purposes, water bottling and community water systems.  For existing groundwater users, the regulations provide a three-year transition period in which to apply for a licence; application fees will be waived for the first 12 months the WSA is in force.  Surface water and non-domestic groundwater users will be subject to the new water fees and rentals announced last year. 

With the size and complexity of the WSA and the number of required regulations, government is implementing the WSA using a phased approach.  Work on the next phase of regulations and policies will be initiated later this year and includes measuring and reporting, livestock watering, water objectives, planning and governance.

If you have questions about the changes or their implications, please visit the websites below or contact: livingwatersmart@gov.bc.ca