Owners of existing non-domestic wells shouldn’t count on any further extensions of the province’s deadline for registering their wells and applying for a groundwater licence free of charge.
“It is unlikely to change at this point,” said Maria Nguyen, a senior authorizations technician with FrontCounter BC, in a presentation at the Pacific Agriculture Show on January 28.
The province originally set a deadline of March 1, 2019, three years after the new registration and licensing provisions of the Water Sustainability Act took effect. Shortly before the deadline, however, the province extended the waiver on the application fee to March 1, 2022.
Well owners now have until February 28, 2022 to register their wells and obtain a licence without paying fees. However, rents are nevertheless owing on all water used since February 29, 2016, when registration was first required.
Nguyen encouraged producers to apply by deadline, noting that filing an application is critical to determining a user’s priority even if a licence isn’t granted until several months later. The application will give the province a better understanding of the number of existing users, and the demand on the province’s water resources as applications for new wells continue to arrive.
Nguyen pointed applicants seeking more information about their specific wells to [https://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/gwells/].
The site allows visitors to search for wells by tag number, property address or even spatially, by zooming in on a map.