Private Water Utilities

Under the Water Sustainability Act and the Utilities Commission Act, the Comptroller of Water Rights, assisted by staff in the Utility Regulation Section, is responsible for the regulation of 122 privately owned water utilities serving approximately 20,000 households in the Province of British Columbia.

What is a Private Water Utility?

A private water utility under the Water Utility Act is a person/business who owns or operates equipment or facilities for the delivery of domestic water service to five (5) or more persons or to a corporation for compensation. Private water utilities are usually created by developers to serve rural land development where community water service is required for subdivision approval and where there is no other water purveyor in the area that can provide service.

Why are Private Water Utilities Regulated?

Private water utilities are regulated to protect the public interest. They are regulated to ensure that adequate and safe water service is provided at a fair and reasonable price. Water rates are approved on the basis of collecting sufficient revenues to pay for operating costs, including a provision for management fees and a contribution for future replacement of infrastructure.

What are the Water Utility Regulation Sections Responsibilities?

The responsibilities of the Utility Regulation Section fall into two major categories: to ensure that water systems installed by land developers are properly designed and constructed prior to the sale of lots and to ensure that these utilities provide safe and adequate water service at rates that are fair, reasonable and sufficient to operate their water systems sustainably.

The Utility Regulation Section staff will assess each application for new systems, as well as extensions to existing water systems by evaluating the design and financial viability. The developer will be required to construct the water system to approve design standards and establish certain contingency funds as part of the approval process. Upon satisfying these requirements, a recommendation is made to the Comptroller of Water Rights to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN).

These requirements are in addition to: approvals required by regional health authorities under the  Drinking Water Protection Act and Drinking Water Protection Regulation and licensing of surface water or groundwater sources under the Water Sustainability Act and/or any other legislation.