As a water licence holder, you have the right to expropriate any privately owned land, beyond the boundaries of your own land, that is reasonably required to access your water right and to protect your water source from pollution.

Expropriation in the Water Sustainability Act

The right to expropriate has been expanded under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) to include groundwater as well as surface water. According to the WSA all water licence holders, including those authorized to divert and use groundwater, have the right to expropriate any land:

  • Reasonably required for the construction, maintenance, improvement or operation of works authorized or necessarily required under the licence
  • Necessary to help prevent pollution of the diverted water if the licence authorizes the use and diversion of water for domestic or waterworks purposes
  • That has been flooded or would be flooded by the construction of a dam.

Negotiate Before You Expropriate

Expropriation is expensive and time consuming. You must provide compensation for any land that you expropriate. You may be able to save time and money by first negotiating with the landowner for permission to use or rent the land.

Deciding to Expropriate

If negotiating permission to use the land fails, you may decide that expropriation is the best course of action. Complete a Notice of Intent to Acquire an Interest in Land and submit this form to the landowner.

The landowner has 30 days from receipt of Notice to decide whether to accept the terms. Once the 30 day period is up, either you or the affected landowner may apply to the Supreme Court of B.C. to determine the compensation payable, the nature and terms of the conveyance or agreement, or both compensation and terms.