On July 30, 2015, the Province of British Columbia issued for
comment four policies associated with the Water
Sustainability Act ("WSA"). The WSA
is expected to come into force in 2016, with associated regulations
(which will likely be based on the proposed policies).
The policies relate to groundwater licensing, groundwater
protection, dam safety and enforcement. The comment period expires
on September 8, 2015. Below are key points set out
in the policies.
1. Persons who use groundwater for non-domestic purposes will
require a license, which will be issued on the First-In-Time,
2. If an owner of an existing well applies for a license within
12 months of the WSA coming into force, the government will waive
the application fee. Otherwise, full application fee will apply.
Detailed breakdown of the proposed fees can be found here; and
3. Persons who apply for a license within a three years'
transition period, will be able to seek a priority date based on
their historic first use. After three years, all persons will be
treated as new applicants.
1. The definition of the term "well" will be adjusted
to exclude openings that have little or no impact on groundwater,
or are otherwise regulated (including drains, trenches, ditches and
mineral exploration drill holes);
2. With a few exceptions, new wells must be set back at least 15
metres from existing water supply wells. Wells used for underground
infiltration of urban runoff must be situated at least 60 metres
from existing water supply wells;
3. Well drillers dealing with artesian flow must prevent
4. With few exceptions, new well pits (designed to address
ground freezes) will be prohibited; and
5. Well owners must ensure proper maintenance of their well,
whether or not in use, and, if the well is not in service, must
deactive or decommission such well after five years.
1. Dams built to capture groundwater and surface water will be
2. All higher risk dams (including dams on private, federal and
municipal government lands) will require emergency contact
information on either side of the dam;
3. All dam owners (regardless of dam height, storage capacity or
failure consequence classification) will have to review downstream
conditions on an annual basis; and
4. The Comptroller or regional manager will have greater
discretion respecting the type of independent expert opinion a dam
owner can be required to draw upon.
1. Some offences will be reclassified (from high penalty to
general offence) to allow a lower fine for a first offence, and a
higher fine for failing to comply with an order; and
2. New offences will be added to reflect new features under the
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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