Stream/Waterbody Changes

Potential Approval, Permit or Code of Practice Requirements

Explanation: When planning work in or around water, you must take care to minimize the potential risk to aquatic ecosystems and limit water pollution.

Section 11 of the Water Sustainability Act requires that “changes in and about a stream” may only proceed under approval or by notification. Under the Water Sustainability Act, “changes in and about a stream” is defined as:

  • any modification to the nature of a stream, including any modification to the land, vegetation and natural environment of a stream or the flow of water in a stream, or
  • any activity or construction within a stream channel that has or may have an impact on a stream or a stream channel.

Notifications are typically used for works that do not involve any diversion of water, may be completed within a short period of time and will have minimal impact on the environment or third parties.

An approval is a written authorization for changes in and about a stream that are of a complex nature.

The Process for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) Projects

If works in and about a stream are planned, they may proceed only after the Water Sustainability Act notification or approval requirements have been met.

The notification/approval process, managed by FrontCounter BC, has three stages:

  1. MoTI completes the notification/application form and submits it to FrontCounter BC. The same form, available online, is used for both notifications and approval applications. The form includes clear instructions and related links.
  2. FrontCounter BC accepts the notification/application form, checks for completeness, and passes it on to Ministry of Envrionment. MoTI questions or follow up are directed to FrontCounter BC.
  3. Approval applications will be adjudicated by a Water Stewardship Officer; Referrals to First Nations by FrontCounter BC if impacts to fish and heritage sites are of concern; Notifications will be reviewed by a Habitat Protection Officer.

Notifications must be submitted at least 45 days before the works begin.  The Habitat Protection Officer will contact MoT if they have questions or recommendations regarding the notification. If the Habitat Officer has not contacted MoT within 45 days of receipt of the Notification Form, the work may proceed.

The Water Stewardship Officer will contact MoTI if they have questions or recommendations regarding an approval application. The Water Stewardship Division's goal is to process Approval applications within 140 days of receipt.

Statute: Water Sustainability Act

Relevant Section or Regulation: Section 11 of the Water Sustainability Act

Regulating Agency: Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy