If you divert and use groundwater for non-domestic purposes, you must now obtain a water licence and pay water fees and rentals. This change came into force with the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) on February 29, 2016.
In partnership with Islands Trust, provincial staff will be offering a free online information webinar on British Columbia’s groundwater licensing program on Thursday, February 3, at 7:00 p.m.
This session will be moderated by Islands Trust’s senior freshwater specialist, William Shulba. The webinar comes ahead of the March 1, 2022, deadline date to apply for a water licence with the Provincial Government for those who started using groundwater from a well or dugout before March 1, 2016, for non-domestic uses like irrigation, commercial, waterworks, or industrial use, or home businesses that increase intensity of water use. After this date, the Province requires that those affected by the legislation stop using groundwater until they have a licence. Non-compliance could result in losing priority access to the groundwater.
Domestic well owners are also urged to register their well for free, so their water use is known and considered by provincial decision-makers when dealing with other licence applications.
“The sustainability of freshwater resources is crucial across the Islands Trust Area,” said Peter Luckham, Islands Trust Council Chair. “Licensing water helps protect aquifers and streams, along with the businesses and livelihoods that depend on reliable access to water. Join us as provincial staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy present about the legislation and what it could mean to you and the islands.”
In the Water Sustainability Act, non-domestic groundwater is now included in the same regulatory structure that has existed for surface water for over 100 years. The Act recognizes that groundwater and surface water should be managed together amidst increasing pressures on freshwater resources.
The webinar will take place on Zoom Videoconferencing. To register and receive the invitation link, visit https://bit.ly/3KLDRkr. Participants are encouraged to submit questions ahead of the presentation to make the most of the evening webinar. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.