Authorities and regulations that protect B.C.

Posted December 2005

Source water protection is critical to ensure the delivery of safe drinking water to B.C.’s residents. To accomplish this goal, federal, provincial, and local governments have created many acts, regulations, and bylaws. These policies are administered by various jurisdictions each having different mandates. Putting all these water-related guidelines into one document would be very beneficial to anyone interested in source water protection. This has been accomplished by the Fraser Basin Council (FBC), a non-profit, non-partisan, NGO dedicated to promoting sustainability in the Fraser Basin.

In June 2005, the FBC released a report entitled, Authorities Affecting Source Water Protection in British Columbia: Research Paper. This report, prepared for Environment Canada, provides a listing and summary of the various regulations, acts, authorities, and jurisdictions relating to and involved in source water protection in B.C. There are separate sections for federal and provincial acts and policies as well as information concerning First Nations treaties and agreements. Concise summaries of the acts and regulations allow one to easily review the different jurisdictional responsibilities.

An interesting addition to the report is a summary of interviews conducted with representatives from federal, provincial, and local governments, as well as First Nations groups. These interviews provided feedback on the effectiveness of the various source water protection acts and regulations and the authorities and jurisdictions that oversee them. A key focus of the interviews concerned drinking water pathogens and how successfully they were being dealt with by the applicable acts and authorities. The inputs from the different stakeholders provide useful assessments of the existing authorities and legislation. The contributions also serve as a catalyst for further discussions about increasing the effectiveness of source water protection policies.

At the end of the report, some very useful information has been included. A convenient resource that lists the main points of each act has been added in the form of an easy to read reference table. In addition, one can obtain more information about water protection from the extensive list of references and websites that have been incorporated.

For more information, download Authorities Affecting Source Water Protection in British Columbia: Research Paper