Drinking Water Protection Planning

In BC, there are two main source water protection tools under the Drinking Water Protection Act (DWPA); water source and system assessments and associated response plans, and Drinking Water Protection Plans (DWPP) ordered by the Minister of Health under the Act.

Water Source and System Assessments

Under the DWPA, drinking water officers can order water systems to prepare a source water assessment and response plan or they can require one as part of the water supplier’s operating permit. The province has developed several tools for conducting source water and system assessments and developing response plans.

Drinking Water Protection Plans

A Drinking Water Protection Plan is a legislative source protection tool that may provide special powers to local authorities to regulate activities in areas of concern for a community water supply system. Part 5 of the Drinking Water Protection Act outlines the requirements to designate an area for a Drinking Water Protection Plan, the plan authority, and the planning and implementation process. The decision whether to initiate a DWPP is one for the Minister to make. Under Section 31, the Provincial Health Officer may make a recommendation to the Minister to designate an area by order for the purpose of developing a DWPP for the area. The PHO may only make such a recommendation if the following requirements under the Act are satisfied:

  • Based on monitoring or assessment results, the PHO is satisfied that a DWPP will assist in addressing or preventing a threat to drinking water that the PHO considers may result in a drinking water health hazard, and
  • No other practical measures available under the DWPA are sufficient to address or prevent the drinking water hazard.

A Drinking Water Officer may make a request to the PHO to consider making a recommendation to the Minister, if they can demonstrate the above criteria have been met. In addition, a local authority or a water supplier may request a Drinking Water Officer to make a request to the PHO on their behalf.