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Knowing British Columbia’s Ground Water Licensing

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Businesses using groundwater wells must apply for a water license as per British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Act enforced on February 29, 2016.

Non-domestic groundwater well users such as businesses, irrigators, industries, waterworks, and others who divert, use, or store water from a well must obtain the water license or use approval as well as pay fees and rentals.

Residents (homeowners) who own wells are not subject to fees and licensing.

After obtaining a water license, the users will be added to the water licensing system. They will also receive a water right along with a date of precedence similar to what surface water licensees have.

The law acknowledges that groundwater and surface water are connected. Licensing groundwater allows the province to build a better system to manage water carefully to the benefit of people, the environment, and the economy.

If you do not have a water license for your groundwater usage and were an existing commercial user on or before February 29, 2016, you have to submit your application until March 1, 2022.

Download the Licensing Groundwater in B.C. Q & A fact sheet for more information.

For water fees and rentals, visit the Annual Water Rent Rates Estimator and Application Fees and Costs.

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