Approved Water Quality Guidelines

Approved water quality guidelines are policy statements and applied generically province wide, providing the basis for ambient water quality assessments and to inform resource management decisions in B.C.

Ambient water quality guidelines are used to:

  • protect water values, including: aquatic life, wildlife and their habitats, drinking water sources, agriculture (livestock watering and irrigation); and recreation;
  • provide the basis for the evaluation of ambient water quality and environmental impact assessments to inform resource management decisions (e.g., wastewater discharge limits);
  • provide the basis for water quality objectives; and
  • report to the public on the state of water quality and promote water stewardship.

View the water quality guidelines fact sheet or water quality guidelines policy for more information.

Guideline Tools

An online application to easily look-up BC water quality guidelines for aquatic life, wildlife, agriculture, drinking water sources and recreation.

Access all BC approved and working water quality guidelines as a .csv file in the BC Data Catalogue.

View the most recent updates to BC water quality guidelines.

Guideline Summaries

Guideline Overview and Technical Reports

Fresh Water Aquatic Life:
Look-up a copper guideline without using the BC BLM Software

Calculate a copper guideline using the BC Biotic Ligand Model Software

Water quality guideline documents