British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act received Royal Assent on May 29, 2014, after more than four years of public engagement and policy development. The new act will come into force early in 2016.
The Water Sustainability Act will provide new tools to help ensure that water stays healthy and secure for future generations of British Columbians. It will allow government to manage surface water and groundwater as one resource, provide water users with greater certainty regarding their water rights, and establish clear rules about managing water during times of scarcity.
Much of the detail related to implementation of the Water Sustainability Act will be provided in regulations and operational policies. Due to the complexity of the new act and the number of proposed regulations, government is taking a phased approach to the development of policies and regulations.
Throughout the development of the WSA government has engaged with First Nations, local governments, business sectors, and water users.