Water Protection Act

The Water Protection Act (WPA) protects B.C.'s water by reconfirming the Province's ownership of surface and groundwater, clearly defining limits for bulk water removal, and prohibiting the large-scale diversion of water between major provincial watersheds and/or to locations outside of the province.

Bulk Water Removal

The WPA defines and limits the amount of water that can be removed in bulk from B.C. The WPA limits bulk water removal to surface water licensees and groundwater users who are registered with the Comptroller of Water Rights and who had removed water in bulk prior to June 1, 1995.

Under the WPA, no one is allowed to remove water from the province unless they

  • Are registered with the Comptroller of Water Rights, or
  • Are removing water in containers of 20 litres or less, or
  • Obtained the water outside the province, or
  • Carry the water in vehicles, vessels or aircraft for the use of people and animals while in transit across British Columbia's borders.

Diversions Between Watersheds

The WPA prohibits large-scale projects that would divert or transfer water between any of the nine major watersheds in B.C. A large-scale project is one that diverts 10 m3 per second or more.

Small-scale projects and the transfer of large volumes within watersheds are covered by the Environmental Assessment Act.