The Government of British Columbia announced on February 5 a new fee and rental rate which it says will help ensure the safety and effective management of the province’s water resources. The new fee and rental rate will recover the cost of implementing the province’s Water Sustainability Act, and will include the regulation of groundwater use.

Moving forward, groundwater users will need a water licence and will be required to pay water fees and rentals. Previously, groundwater use in British Columbia was restricted by no such regulations.

Household wells will not be licensed or charged.

“British Columbia is blessed with an abundant water supply that our government is committed to preserving for future generations,” said Environment Minister Mary Polak. “The new fee structure will ensure fairness and affordability are cornerstones of our modernized water legislation.”

Despite the updated water fee and rental structure, British Columbia’s new rental rates, which range from $0.02 to $2.25 per 1000m­3, will remain among the countries lowest. In Québec, rental rates can be as high as $70 per 1000m3, while in Nova Scotia, some water uses attract a rate of $140 per 1000m3.

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