February 27, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
Property owners now have three more years to register existing wells that draw water for non-domestic purposes and apply for a licence to use groundwater.
The new deadline of March 1, 2022 is the third such extension in as many years, and exempts existing well owners from application and licensing fees.
Without the extension, thousands of groundwater users would have become outlaws this Friday and, perhaps more important, lost their priority to access water if supplies ever run short.
The province originally expected to register about 20,000 existing wells as part of its transition to a first in time, first in right (FITFIR) system, but the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development says only 4,737 applications have been received. Of these, just 462 licences have been issued over the past three years.
“The application intake has been lower than expected and for many groundwater users, recognizing the value of a licence to secure their water rights represents a significant change,” the ministry said in a memo to stakeholders on February 19.
The new regime mirrors water management protocols in many US states, and aims at better managing a resource whose extent isn’t easily estimated. FITFIR means that if groundwater supplies fall short in a given area, the oldest wells will be given priority over more recent wells.
An annual rent will be charged groundwater users, too, attaching a cost to a resource many have taken for granted. Users who register and licence their wells must pay for water drawn since February 29, 2016. The province has collected $680,000 in existing use groundwater rentals over the past three years.
February 21, 2019
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KAMLOOPS – Kevin Boon, general manager of the BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA), is calling the Ministry of Environment (MOE) to […]
No fees, no loss of priority for registrations through March 1, 2022
Thousands of BC farmers and ranchers at risk of losing their priority water rights at the end of February won’t […]
Vol. 105 Issue 5
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
What on earth?
Opposition slams ALC bill
Sidebar: Protection & pushback
Editorial: Truth in labelling
Back Forty: So you don’t believe in climate change
Viewpoint: Don’t blame the cows for global warming
Ag council’s lobbying efforts produce results
Learning a new skill
Foundation’s nest egg for funding projects increases
Province will hold the line on piece rates
New CEO aims to kindle team spirit at co-op
FIRB decision prompts rethink of pricing scheme
Beekeepers see potential in technology transfer
AgSafe markes quarter century
Raspberries hit hard by harsh February
Blueberry growers anxious for new varieties
Biological controls for pests in demand
Sidebar: Pesticides in play
Growers urged to focus on fresh
Westgen celebrates 75 years of excellence
Top seller was no-show at Holstein sale
Spring show attracts exhibitors from Quebec
Cheesemakers unite to grow niche market
Range use permits under greater scrutiny
Sidebar: Range use plans go digital
Market Musings: Top bulls sell for top dollar at spring sales
Grapegrowers share sustainability objectives
Grape specialist honoured for dedication
Hazelnut production expands across BC
Sidebar: Pest pressures
Supporters take to AITC’s Sips & Sprouts
Research: Cultured meat fails to impress researchers
UAVs undergo testing for pesticide delivery
Sustainability goes beyond saving farmland
Father and daughter roll with the last of the steel wheels
Woodshed: Susan Henderson is warming to country life
Wannabe: Farming is more than just a job
Surplus, cull fruit finds new purpose as tasty snacks
Jude’s Kitchen: Special food for special moms