The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the Province of BC are hosting “existing use” groundwater licensing workshops and a public information session on Monday, April 16th.

Anyone interested in water management is welcome to attend the information session, to be held at the Lower Native Sons Hall from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Experts from the BC Ministry of Environment and the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development will describe updates to BC’s water law, including new requirements for groundwater licenses. Staff from the CVRD will share information about a new agricultural watershed planning project for the Tsolum River watershed, and an expert from the BC Ministry of Agriculture will discuss irrigation efficiency.

Farmers and other non-domestic well users are invited to register for one of the free workshop sessions at North Island College, to be held at 9:30 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 – 3:30 pm, on April 16. Participants will receive hands-on computer assistance to complete the licensing process, if their groundwater use was established before March 1, 2016. Existing groundwater users are required to submit their applications by March 1, 2019 in order to secure their water rights under BC’s new Water Sustainability Act.

These requirements for farmers and other non-domestic groundwater users are part of the changes brought in by the Water Sustainability Act in 2016, which replaced BC’s 100-year-old Water Act. “Sustainability” is an important part of the new law, which among other things requires aquatic life to be considered when new water licenses are issued. Including groundwater in licensing requirements was an important part of the new law, since groundwater aquifers can be depleted by overuse, and because groundwater and surface water – for which licenses were already required – are connected.

The workshops are free, but registration is required. For more information on the information session or workshops, or to register for a workshop, see: www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/workshops, or contact the CVRD by Email or by phone at 250 334-6000.

 

Darry Monteith

Engineering Analyst, Comox Valley Regional District