Environmental Regulatory Compliance for
Highway Development and Operations


About Short Term Use of Water

In British Columbia, ownership of water and most streambeds is vested in the Crown (Province). The primary provincial statute regulating water resources is the Water Act. Section 8 of the Water Act regulates ‘short term use of water’.

MoE can approve short term use of water without issuing a licence. Longer term use requires a license under the Water Act.

The Act and Regulation specify requirements that assure that short term use of water does not compromise water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and the rights of other water users.

The Water Act, provides the following definitions:

Stream – includes a natural watercourse or source of water supply, whether usually containing water or not, ground water, and a lake, river, creek, spring, ravine, swamp and gulch.

Diversion – taking water from a stream. Includes causing water to leave the channel of a stream and making a change in or about the channel that permits water to leave it.

Short term – term not exceeding 12 months.

The Process for MoT Projects

MoT must have a Water Act, Section 8 Approval from the Ministry of Environment Water Stewardship Division (WSD) before carrying out any short term use of water.

Applications for approval for Short Term Use of Water are made through FrontCounter BC. The application form is online. FrontCounter BC will check the application for completeness and forward it to WSD. WSD will adjudicate the application and issue an approval letter or contact MoT if changes are required. WSD’s goal is to process Approval applications within 90 days of receipt but it may take longer.

FrontCounter BC

Application form

Water Act

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