Dam Safety

More than 1,500 active dams in B.C. are regulated under the Water Sustainability Act. Regulated dams require a water licence issued under the Act and must meet the requirements specified in the Dam Safety Regulation.

There are procedures and practices that are important to know if you're involved in the management, design, construction, rehabilitation, decommissioning or removal of dams in B.C.

Dam Locations

Find a dam in B.C. using one of the following map applications:

  • DataBC Map
  • Google Earth (This KMZ file contains spatial data for dams. Save the file to your computer, then open it using the latest version of Google Earth)

Other Water Retaining Structures

A number of structures that retain water are not licensed under the Water Sustainability Act. The Dam Safety Regulation does not apply to those structures.


Dams on a mine site that require a water licence may be regulated under the Water Sustainability Act and Dam Safety Regulation. Further information on regulatory authority on a mine site can be found within the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment. Other Acts and guidance for dams on a mine site includes:


Structures such as dugouts that contain only surface water runoff, snow melt or direct precipitation are not regulated under the Water Sustainability Act and therefore are not considered dams for the purposes of regulation.

If a dugout also uses a dam structure, then the dam safety regulations may apply.