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Province Extends Groundwater Licence Application Fee Waiver period

There's a bit of a lag time now for groundwater users on the Kettle River. — Submitted

There some good news for water users in the Boundary region said the Kettle River Watershed Authority after the province announced an extension of Groundwater Licence
Application Fee Waiver period.

BCs New Water Sustainability Act regulations came into effect in February 2016.

The Act stipulates that all non-domestic groundwater users must apply for a groundwater licence by March 1, 2019.

In a media release, the Kettle River Watershed Authority said the province has extended the application fee waiver period from Dec. 31, 2017 to March 1, 2019. After March 1, 2019, there will be an application fee (between $250 to $1000 per well depending on water use) and users may lose your First-In-Time, First-In-Right privileges.

The public has voiced frustration that there was very little or no notice given by the BC Government about the new regulation.

Vicki Gee, Regional District of the Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Area ‘E’ West Boundary Director notes that: ‘In all my efforts to get my constituents to be informed, I’m the first person that they are hearing from."

To apply for a licence you must go through the FrontCounter BC Natural Resources application on-line process. This process can be cumbersome and can be difficult to get through.

The local Kettle River Watershed Authority (supported by the RDKB) has attempted to fill this void of provincial government outreach.

The Authority has:

  • promoted the deadlines through our facebook page and through the media
  • run free workshops to help people apply on the spot; and
  • helped people one-on-one on an as requested basis to complete their on-line application.

The release said the extension will allow the Kettle River Watershed Authority to continue to work with local people to ensure that they apply prior to the deadline and don’t have to pay a fee.

“The reason I’m really happy for the extension is that the communication from the provincial government has been lacking and I’m glad that people have the opportunity to apply without a fee,” said Gee.

In the New Year, users can contact Jessica Mace, Kettle River Watershed Authority Coordinator at 250-442-4111 or plan@kettleriver.ca for more information.