The following excerpts are taken from the September/October issue of Water Canada‘s magazine article by Rick Williams and Luke Dineley.
Read the full article at: http://watercanada.net/2012/turn-of-the-century/
“British Columbia has plans to update its 100-year-old Water Act and finally regulate groundwater use… It’s almost impossible nowadays to open a newspaper… without finding at least one article or report focussing on the criticisms of shale gas development, particularly as it relates to the heavy reliance on water… Concerns over water are the forefront of the debate on multi-stage hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’), the key technology behind the recent shale gas boom. in British Columbia, an over 100-year-old (…outdated) Water Act is seen by some as an impediment to water protection in the province.
The stated objective of the proposed Water Sustainability Act is to focus the legislative framework on risk, competing demands, and scarcity of water, and to implement an area-based approach to water management… policy goals include: protecting aquatic environments, regulating groundwater use, regulating use during scarcity, improving security, water-use efficiency and conservation…
The Water Sustainability Act will differentiate between groundwater users making large withdrawals. Regulation of large groundwater users will be stricter: all existing and new large groundwater users will be required to obtain a licence…smaller groundwater users, by contrast will not be required to obtain a license…The categorization of a large withdrawal is … expected to be in the range of 250 to 500 cubic metres per day for wells in unconsolidated aquifers, and 100 cubic metres per day for wells in bedrock aquifers… after a long process, the Province has indicated that it is moving to bring the proposed Water Sustainability Act in the legislature… time is running short. With the next provincial election set for May 2013… whether it is the proposed Water Sustainability Act , the Water Act will be replaced….
Living Water Smart Team member Ted White explains the Water Sustainability Act framework and invites you to participate in building a sustainable future for British Columbia’s water. This video outlines the seven key proposed policy directions: Protect stream health and aquatic environments, Consider water in land-use decisions, Regulate groundwater use, Regulate during scarcity, Improve security, water use efficiency and conservation, Measure and report water use, Enable a range of governance approaches. To comment on the WSA, and to join the conversation on the proposed Water Sustainability Act, visit http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart