Do I Need to License My Well?

Associated Environmental can help you answer that question. Licensing and approval requirements vary based on the groundwater use. Our experts can take you through the process, and help you get your license. Contact Marta Green ( or Jennifer Brown ( to get started. 

What do you use groundwater for?

You can learn more about "water use purposes" in Section 2 of the BC Water Sustainability Act.

Is ground water for DOMESTIC use only?

Domestic use is includes:

  • drinking, food preparation, and sanitation
  • fire prevention
  • watering animals kept for household use or as pets
  • watering of a garden not exceeding 1,000 m2  

You do not require a licence or an approval for domestic water use. However, domestic well owners have new inherent rights under the BC WSA, including the use groundwater for domestic use.

To help protect these new rights, domestic well owners are encouraged to voluntarily register their well logs with the Ministry of Environment. Contact us to schedule a quick call to confirm whether you need a licence, and we can help you through this process. Click here to access the registration form from the Ministry website.

For all OTHER water uses

If you use groundwater for any reason other than just domestic use, such as for a home business, commercial operation, farm, orchard, ranch, or an industry, you need to apply for a Licence or an Approval. An Approval would apply if your water use is temporary (i.e. less than 24 months).

The WSA includes a transitional period for existing users: applicants who were using groundwater before February 29th, 2016 need to apply before the end of the transitional period on March 1st, 2022. If they do so, they will enjoy the following additional benefits.

  • An exemption from paying application fees but water rent will continue to be retro-active back to March 1, 2016
  • The opportunity to receive a date of precedence on their water licence that reflects historic use
  • The ability to continue using water before a final decision on the licence application is made. If you apply after March 1, 2022, you will not be allowed to use groundwater until a water licence has been issued.   

What happens if I don’t apply by the March 1, 2022 deadline?

If you are an existing groundwater user (meaning, you started using water prior to March 1, 2016, you will have forfeited your historic right and seniority to use that water. Continued water use will be unlawful and may be subject to fines and penalties. To make that use legal after this date, you will need to apply as a “new user”, and temporarily shut down your water use while your application is reviewed. As a new use, your application is more likely to be refused and then your water use will be permanently shut down.

Need Help?

Contact us today to begin your application.