B.C. Water Act

Andrew JohnsonNatural Resources, Online Courses Comments

BC Water Act overview - Environmental Monitoring

Flow into a Course of Water Protection

The Provincial Water Act is a very important statute that is involved in any project development process in B.C.

You know that that means! As an Environmental Monitor is it part of your job to make sure you know what the Provincial Water Act involves and that its regulations are adhered to during project development processes.

The B.C. Water act is an old, yet powerful (just like water) piece of Provincial legislation that lays out how activities are to be conducted in and around “a stream”. I know that you’re thinking – “Hey! What about the lakes, oceans, rivers etc.?!” Well the B.C. Water Act legislation uses the word “stream” to define any kind of a natural water course or source of water in the Province. Therefore, a “stream” under the Water Act includes lakes, springs, rivers, swamps, ravines, etc.

Section 9 of the B.C. Water Act is very important to remember when you are working in the field as an Environmental Monitor. Section 9 prohibits changes in and about a stream without some sort of authorization under the water act. “Changes” are things that would modify the nature of the stream around it. Examples of modification include anything that alters or impacts the land that the stream flows through, the vegetation around the stream, the natural environment or the flow of water in the stream.

Did you know that there are 4 kinds of authorizations that must take place when working in or around a stream? These include:

  1. Approvals
  2. Water Act Notifications
  3. Major Water Licenses
  4. Orders issued under the water act

Just another tidbit to keep in mind – the B.C. Water Act does not concern itself with fish; it only is concern with water. It cannot be used to protect the fish in the water – that comes down to the B.C. Fisheries Act.

Annnnnnd this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak! You can learn all you need to know about the B.C. Water Act for Environmental Monitors, through UNBC’s Continuing Studies Department. Check out the Introduction to Environmental Monitoring course included in their Environmental Monitoring certificate.