Key Changes to the BC Water Sustainability Act and Impacts on Industry

Post by Kyle Paddon, C.Tech, EP


The long-awaited BC Water Sustainability Act (WSA) was brought into force on February 29, 2016.  The goal of the Act is to provide the province with a better means of protecting, managing and using the province’s water.

For the first time ever in BC, groundwater (along with surface water) will be regulated by the province.

Key changes introduced by the WSA include:

The WSA replaces the previous Water Act.  There are five new regulations that have come into force under the Act, including regulations related to groundwater use and licensing, dam safety, and compliance.  In addition, the Groundwater Protection Regulation, which previously resided under the Water Act, has been updated to provide enhanced provisions for well construction, maintenance and closure.

Worker looking down on a waterfall

A summary of the new regulations that came into force under the WSA on February 29, 2016 are:

Other changes brought in by the WSA include:

Some of the changes to the Water Act will impact the industry as practitioners will have to review the changes, update existing clients and educate new clients on the new and existing requirements.

An example of the changes to the water act also provides an opportunity for additional work as existing groundwater users will be brought into water licensing under a First-in-Time-First–in-Right allocation system. Guidance documents to accompany the new regulations are currently being developed by the Ministry and the transition to the new WSA will be important to follow

Read the WSA and its associated regulations

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