A water license (water use registration) is a legal requirement for all properties that take surface water from a lake, pond or stream for domestic or commercial use. There is an annual fee associated with the amount of water used and for any excessive “works” over crown land. Drilled or dug wells are currently exempt from required registration unless the water is for commercial use, which includes farming.
Many residences extract surface water in our watershed without a license. While the Government of B.C. claims to be aware of these properties, only license holders are invoiced a nominal fee for water usage and contacted directly about water consumption concerns and restrictions imposed in the watershed during drought conditions.
Although the Society will not judge those who do not have a legal license to extract surface water or commercially-used ground water, we do recommend that property owners obtain a later license as it does provide the property with a priority sequence of entitlement to water in the case of restriction or scarcity.
The application process has been greatly simplified in the last 20 years. It is done on-line through Front Counter BC. The minimum application fee is $250 in 2022 Government.