Water Approval

Please note some of these links are dead due to change of BC government policy We need a volunteer webmaster / researcher / writer to help update our systems. If you wish to help contact John R. Roe volws@salishsea.ca many thanks to Jason Bryne for his work on this site.


Water approval/formal approval is required for any work that involves changes in and about a stream (defined as any modification to the nature of the stream including the land, vegetation, natural environment or flow of water within a stream, or any activity or construction within the stream channel that has or may have an impact on the stream) and does not fall under the pre-authorized categories requiring notification only, including if the applicant already has a water license or if the action has been ordered by an engineer.

If some modification in and about a stream is to be carried out, then a formal application must be submitted and the work must not be started until formal approval is obtained. If the proposed change does meet the requirements, the applicant must still comply with all applicable federal, provincial or municipal enactments including obtaining permission from the Crown or private landowner on whose property the work site occurs.

The applicant must not make any changes in and about a stream unless they provide on request information required to assess the impact of the change on the stream or stream channel. Any change in and about a stream must be planned in such a way so that the work and further maintenance does not pose a significant danger to life, property or the environment.

Changes which do not require formal approval or license, but may require notification are the installation, construction, and/or maintenance of:

If the proposed work does not fall under any of these categories, then formal approval may be required.

Obtaining a Water License (Formal Approval)

If the proposed work requires water approval, an application for a water license must be submitted. The applicant must comply with the directions given by the comptroller, regional water manager or engineer with respect to filing the application, giving appropriate notice and paying the required fees. In addition, any plans, specifications, or other required information must be supplied as needed.

When applying for water approval, the following details are needed:


Sections 8 and 9 of the Water Act. 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Province of British Columbia.

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