Apply for a Water Use Approval

Use approvals (called Section 8 approvals or short-term use approvals under the previous Water Act) allow the diversion and use of water from a stream or an aquifer, and the temporary construction of works on the stream or aquifer, for a period of up to 24 months.

Section 10 of the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) lays out the requirements for a use approval.

Application Process

Staff at FrontCounter BC will review your application and inform you if any additional information is needed, including habitat assessments, plans and designs for constructed works, or other related information. A water manager will review your completed application and inform you when a decision has been reached.

Use approvals for multiple sites

Contact regional FrontCounter BC staff before applying for approval on multiple sites.

Authority to Work Around Water

To make changes in and about a stream you must hold a change approval or, for specified low risk changes, give notification. 

Permits over Crown Land

If your works will cross or otherwise affect Crown Land, you may also be required to apply for a permit over Crown land. For certain activities, such as major works, a Land Act tenure may be required. More on these requirements is available in the online application form for a water authorization at FrontCounter BC.

Review and Consultation

Applications may be referred to Fisheries and Oceans Canada or the Ecosystems Branch of the Ministry of Environment. Other government agencies, affected landowners, licensees and riparian landowners may be notified of the application and given a chance to respond. First Nations in the area may be consulted.

Environmental flow needs

The amount of water needed to keep aquatic ecosystems healthy is a factor in deciding whether to grant use approvals on streams or aquifers.