On February 29, groundwater licensing began as the first phase of implementation of the new Water Sustainability Act (WSA) in BC. For an overview of the WSA, click here.
Licensing applies to large, commercial groundwater users. A three-year transition period is in place, and application forms are available online at www.frontcounterbc.gov.bc.ca. Those applying for licences before March 1, 2017 won't have to pay the application fee.
Domestic well owners are exempt from licensing, though they are encouraged to register their wells through FrontCounterBC. Doing so will help ensure that future regulations are based on data, and could help protect users' future rights.
The new Groundwater Protection Regulation applies to all groundwater users, whether commercial or domestic. The regulation includes more requirements regarding well construction and maintenance. With about 2,000 wells drilled in BC per year, the impact could be widespread. For further information, see the Groundwater Protection Regulation brochure.
In addition to groundwater protection, the WSA also introduces a new Dam Safety Regulation. The regulation defines a dam and the types that are regulated in BC. About 1,500 dams are regulated, and factors include height, capacity and consequence classification. Owners of regulated dams must have water licenses and maintain their dams. For further details, see the Dam Safety Regulation information sheet.