Vancouver Sun publishes 10-part series on “Water: Life blood of BC” – part 2 explains how Province is modernizing water rules


Note to Reader:

Climate change threatens to make this summer’s drought look minor. In September 2015, the Vancouver Sun newspaper is publishing a 10-part series of articles about “Water: Life blood of BC”. The series theme is how BC uses water and what the future has in store for our waterways. Published on September 14, the second installment looks at the provincial government’s recent refresh of its water laws.


New Water Law Gives Victoria More Authority to Adjust Rights to Water in Times of Shortage

In the second installment, writer Rob Shaw observes that part of B.C.’s new Water Sustainability Act opens the door to the province delegating some of its powers to local water bodies, such as local governments and watershed groups to better balance the needs of people, business, agriculture, environment, fisheries and First Nations. He quotes Ministry of Environment Mary Polak as follows:

“That, to me, is one of the more exciting parts about what is a pretty long and, ironically, dry piece of legislation. It really is a highlight, that ability for us to empower local organizations.”

Mary-Polak_120pThe new Water Sustainability Act retains the core principle that has governed water rights in B.C. for a century: first in time, first in right. “Where we’ve sought to modernize it was putting in place a system of priority in times of scarcity,” explains the Minister in the article.

About the Water Sustainability Act

Ted van der Gulik_2014_Premier's Awards1_120pA decade in the making, the new Water Sustainability Act is an historic achievement. The Act is the signature piece in a policy and legislative framework that establishes expectations and direction for adapting to a changing climate,” states Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. ” The Act recognizes the connection between land use actions and the implications for the both the water cycle and watershed sustainability.”

To Learn More:

To read the second installment in the 10-part series, click on Province modernizing water rules.

For a summary of what is in the Water Sustainability Act, download an Overview of the Legislative Proposal. For much more information, check out the Water Sustainability Act website.