Water is one of B.C.’s most important natural resources and must be managed appropriately to protect both human and ecosystem health.
Management of water in British Columbia:
- British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act (WSA) – and supporting regulations – came into force on Feb. 29, 2016, marking an important step in the modernization of provincial water law.
- A major update was needed to address the new challenges of the 21st century, including climate change, population growth and increasing pressure on water resources, as well as new technologies and resource activities and greater concern about aquatic ecosystems.
- New tools in the WSA, such as water objectives and water-sustainability plans, help to ensure clean water, protect aquatic ecosystems and protect B.C.’s drinking water supplies.
What the government is doing about drinking water quality:
- Clean and safe water for drinking is essential to maintain our health and well-being.
- Water quality guidelines are developed for various parameters to protect water used for drinking.
- The Drinking Water Protection Act (bclaws.ca) and Drinking Water Protection Regulation (bclaws.ca) replace the former Safe Drinking Water Regulation. The Drinking Water Protection Act covers all water systems other than single-family dwellings (and systems excluded through the regulation). The act sets out certain requirements for drinking-water operators and suppliers to ensure the provision of safe drinking water to their customers.
Management of community watersheds:
- Community watersheds are designated areas that require special management practices to reduce the impacts of forest, range, and oil and gas activities on drinking water sources.
- How recreational water is protected:
- Recreational water provides opportunities for exercise, play and relaxation. However, it can cause serious illness through people’s physical exposure to pathogens and contaminants.
- Water-quality guidelines are developed for various parameters to protect water used for recreation.
Information on water quality and irrigation:
- Water-quality guidelines are developed for water used for irrigating ready-to-eat crops.
- These types of crops include leafy greens, fruits or vegetables that may be eaten right off the field and/or fruits or vegetables that may not be adequately washed.
- Water quality guidelines are developed for various parameters to protect aquatic life, wildlife, livestock and irrigation.
- To manage fresh and marine water quality, water-quality objectives may be developed for specific water bodies to protect water uses in that watershed.
Ecosystems and water quality:
- The Ministry of Environment conducts water-quality monitoring of freshwater and marine water through numerous types of programs to determine if a particular water body has been impacted.
More information on water quality can be found at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/water-quality