Canada: British Columbia unveils Water Sustainability Act

After receiving Royal Assent in 2014, following more than four years of public engagement and policy development, the British Columbia Water Sustainability Act will come into force in 2016. The Act will provide new tools to help ensure that water stays healthy and secure for future generations of British Columbians. It will allow the government to manage surface water and groundwater as one resource, provide water users with greater certainty regarding their water rights, and establish clear rules about managing water during times of scarcity. Once the Water Sustainability Act comes into effect, those who use groundwater for non-domestic purposes (irrigation, municipal water supply, mining, water bottling) will need to apply for a water licence. Surface water and groundwater users will also be subject to the new fees and rentals.