Environmental Regulatory Compliance for
Highway Development and Operations

Stream/Waterbody Changes

Potential Approval, Permit or Code of Practice Requirements:


Section 9 of the Water Act requires that “changes in and about a stream” may only proceed under approval or by notification. Under the Water Act, “changes in and about a stream” means:

  • any modification to the nature of the stream including the land, vegetation, natural environment or flow of water within the stream, or
  • any activity or construction within the stream channel that has or may have an impact on a stream.

The same form is used for notifications and approval applications. Section 5 of the application form describes the types of works that require notification and those that require approval.

Notifications are typically used for works that do not involve any diversion of water, may be completed within a short period of time and will have minimal impact on the environment or third parties. Only the types of works described under Section 44(1) in Part 7 of the Water Regulation may proceed by notification and without an approval under the Water Act. Completed notification forms are submitted to FrontCounterBC. FrontCounterBC forwards them to the Environmental Stewardship branch of the Ministry of Environment.

An approval is a written authorization for changes in and about a stream that are of a complex nature. FrontCounterBC accepts the Approval applications and forwards them to the Water Stewardship branch of the Ministry of Environment.



Relevant Section or Regulation:

Regulating Agency:


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