The Province of BC on February 29, 2016 announced several initial regulations that have now come into force under the Water Sustainability Act.
Some of the highlights are as follows:
- mandates the licensing of groundwaterAll water beneath the surface of the ground whether in liquid or solid state. for non-domestic use – this includes community water supply, agricultural irrigation, industry etc.
- groundwaterAll water beneath the surface of the ground whether in liquid or solid state. users (non-domestic) will have a one-year grace period to apply for a license and have the application fee waived.
- groundwaterAll water beneath the surface of the ground whether in liquid or solid state. users have three years (from Feb. 29, 2016) to apply for a license if they want to maintain their priority date of first use.
- all applications received after March 1, 2019 will be treated as new users, with no historic priority date of use.
- outlines operating and maintenance requirements and standards for groundwaterAll water beneath the surface of the ground whether in liquid or solid state. wells.
- mandates the submission of well records for newly drilled wells.
Other new regulations include: Dam Safety Regulation, Violation Ticket and Fines Regulation, Fees and Rentals Regulation.
Onward from 2016, further essential regulations will be developed under the Water Sustainability Act such as:
- Water Objectives
- Water Sustainability Plans
- Measuring and reporting
- Licence reviews
- Designated areas
- Dedicated agricultural water; and
- Alternative governance approaches
For more information see the Provincial website at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/watersustainabilityact/
For more analysis of the opportunities that the new Act provides, you may be interested in the POLIS Project of Ecological Governance report entitled Awash with Opportunity: Ensuring the Sustainability of BC’s New Water Law