Provincial Licencing Requirements for Groundwater Users

Under the provincial Water Sustainability Act (WSA), non-domestic groundwater users are required to apply for a water licence and pay water fees and rentals to the provincial government.

About non-domestic and domestic use

Non-domestic use refers to, but is not limited to, groundwater storage, diversion, or use for institutes, businesses (including home-based businesses), irrigation, greenhouses, industries, and/or municipal or private waterworks.

Domestic groundwater users who use water for household purposes are not required to apply for a licence. However, the province encourages domestic groundwater users to register their well. Private dwellings that use groundwater for drinking water, food preparation, sanitation, fire prevention, providing water to animals or poultry kept for household use or as pets, or irrigation of a garden or lawn not exceeding 1000m2 adjoining or occupying with a dwelling – with the exclusion of multifamily apartments, hotels, or strata-titled or cooperative buildings on a single parcel – are considered domestic users.

Questions about groundwater use? Find more information on domestic and non-domestic groundwater use by visiting New Requirements for Groundwater Users or by contacting FrontCounterBC directly, as they will be able to assist best regarding this provincially-led initiative.

Non-domestic Registration Deadlines

Non-domestic users, as described above, must apply for a licence through the province on or before the provincially-set deadline of March 1, 2022.

Non-domestic users who apply on or before March 1, 2022 will be granted a date of precedence (i.e. first-in-time, first-in-right) based on the date they began using groundwater and will not be required to pay an application fee.

Non-domestic users applying after March 1, 2022 will be treated as new applicants, will be required to pay application fees, and will be given a junior priority date based on the date of their application.

More information

Learn more about requirements, applications, and dates of precedence by visiting the Government of BC’s New Requirements for Groundwater Users.

Residents can also watch a step-by-step video presentation on how to apply for an existing use groundwater application.

Learn more about the transition at NEW: Blog Post #35 – Less than 90 days remain for groundwater users to apply for licence.

Engineering Division