Dike Maintenance Act approvals

The B.C. Government is committed to maintaining the safety and integrity of dikes while preventing detrimental effects on river processes and other parties.

The Dike Maintenance Act (DMA) provides the provincial inspector of dikes with statutory authority to:

  • Approve construction and design of new dikes
  • Approve changes to existing dikes
  • Establish flood protection standards and dike design criteria
  • Monitor the management of flood protection works by local diking authorities
  • Issue orders to persons and diking authorities to address critical dike safety issues

The DMA states that changes must not be made to a dike or to the area adjacent to a dike without the prior written approval of the inspector or a deputy inspector of dikes. These changes include:

  • Construction of a new dike
  • Alterations to the cross section or crest elevation of a dike
  • Any type of construction on or over a dike including:
    • Culverts
    • Pipes
    • Flood boxes
    • Utility lines
    • Pump stations
    • Excavations
  • Construction of any works on or over a dike right of way
  • Alteration of the foreshore or stream channel that could increase flood levels or impact dike integrity

Policy and rules

This policy will guide approvals for new dikes constructed in British Columbia:

In addition to Dike Maintenance Act approval, the applicant is responsible for obtaining any required approvals under the Fisheries Act, Water Sustainability Act and other applicable legislation and bylaws.

Works shall be planned and scheduled to ensure that flood protection is not diminished during potential flood periods, and temporary measures shall be provided, as necessary, during construction to ensure that the dike functions as designed.

Works shall be planned and constructed with regard to environmental needs.

The raising of dikes or the construction of new dikes and/or other works shall not compromise the safety of other dikes nor increase the risk of flooding to others.

Approval process

Follow these steps to make a change to a dike or an area adjacent to a dike.

All designs and construction methods shall be certified by a qualified professional engineer with a background in civil engineering, who is competent in the field of flood protection. The professional engineer shall review any existing certified as-built drawings to ensure that the proposed design(s) conform to existing dike works.


3. Application

The applicant completes and submits an application package, with assistance from a qualified professional engineer, to the deputy inspector of dikes and local diking authority.

*NEW* March 2023

Dike Maintenance Act Approval Application is now available online.  Please use the link below for information and access to the online application.

Dike Maintenance Approval - Activity Guidance - Natural Resource Online Services

The application package must include the following documents:

  • General location plan
  • Detailed site plan
  • Preliminary design drawings and specifications (Step 1)
  • Design brief clearly discussing all design calculations and assumptions, signed and stamped by a qualified professional engineer (Step 2)
  • Copies of as-built drawings for the dike (where applicable)

B.C. Government staff will review the application for completeness and will prioritize the application based on existing demands and desired construction timing. Staff will inform the applicant if additional information is required and the estimated amount of time required for the technical review.

During this step, B.C. Government staff may correspond directly with the engineer of record and may require modifications to the design and re-submission of drawings and reports. An on-site meeting may also be necessary.

A detailed technical review of the application is typically completed within 30 days. However, it is strongly recommended that a completed application package be submitted 90 days prior to the construction date, especially if construction is to take place during a fisheries window.

The B.C. Government will provide a conditional approval letter for the accepted design. The conditions will usually include the need for the engineer of record to supervise construction.

The engineer of record shall supervise construction. B.C. Government staff must be notified of the construction dates since staff may need to inspect the site during construction.

Within 60 days of construction completion, the engineer(s) of record shall submit signed and stamped construction reports and record drawings to both the Province and the the local diking authorities in the manner specified on the Dike Maintenance Act approval.

Government staff and the diking authority will update their records accordingly to assist with future dike operation, maintenance and emergency response. Depending on the type of construction, an operation and maintenance manual may be required.

Survey-GIS data requirements

Within 60 days of construction completion the engineer of record responsible for the earthworks shall submit post construction survey/GIS data.

The PDF document below provides the requirements for this submission and the Excel template provides the format for the Geodatabase file. Please note that submission will not be accepted by the Province, deeming the DMA approval non-compliant, if it does not conform to these mandatory requirements.


Unregulated dikes

Not all flood protection works in British Columbia are considered to be dikes. Therefore, some structures are not subject to regulation under the DMA. For example, erosion protection works are generally not regulated, unless they directly protect a dike or form part of a larger diking system.

Under the DMA, a private dike is a dike built on private property that protects only that property. Private dikes are not regulated under the DMA and approvals are not required for works related to private dikes. However, work related to private dikes may require authorizations and approvals under other pieces of legislation such as the Water Sustainability Act and the Fisheries Act.