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The BCREA Blog is a platform for sharing the latest education news, economics statistics, issues relating to the profession and links to valuable resources for REALTORS®, stakeholders and the public.

Groundwater Licensing for Shared Wells

Published Jun 28, 2017

iStock-696707268In BC, many people get their daily water from an individual or shared well.

In most cases, the personal use of this water doesn’t require a groundwater licence, but licenses are needed when wells are shared by multiple properties.

The Water Sustainability Act stipulates that well owners who use water for domestic purposes don’t have to pay provincial water fees and rentals. “Domestic purposes” covers multiple users on one piece of land, excluding multi-family apartment buildings, and includes water uses such as drinking and food preparation.

However, if multiple parcels of land share a well, a water licence is required by the owner of the parcel of land where the well is located.

A licence is required regardless of whether payment is being made for the use or transport of the water.

To apply for a water licence, the well owner must contact their regional FrontCounter BC office. More information, including the application form, is available here.

Until December 31, 2017, existing groundwater well users (those who used wells prior to February 29, 2016) will have their application fee waived. Fees and rental rates still apply for the water used. For more about water rental and application fees, click here.

In addition, all domestic groundwater users are encouraged to register their wells. Registration creates a record of water use and ensures that their use is considered by decision makers dealing with other licence applications. Property owners can contact their regional FrontCounter BC office to determine if their well is already registered. If it is not, they can complete a well registration form and email it to groundwater@gov.bc.ca. Get the form here.

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