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The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) is assisting permit holders of Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA) Water Source Wells by summarizing key regulatory requirements under OGAA and the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) for well drilling, operation, and groundwater use.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately

The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) is assisting permit holders of Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA) Water Source Wells by summarizing key regulatory requirements under OGAA and the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) for well drilling, operation, and groundwater use. It is the permit holder’s responsibility to know and comply with all applicable legal requirements.

A “Water Source Well” is defined in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act (PNGA) as “a hole in the ground drilled to obtain water for the purpose of injecting water into an underground formation in connection with the production of petroleum or natural gas”. A Water Source Well is considered an oil and gas activity under OGAA and is subject to permitting, design and operational requirements outlined in OGAA and regulations.

Water Source Wells are also subject to regulatory requirements under the WSA, which came into force in 2016.

OGAA Water Source Well Drilling, Operation, and Decommissioning

  • All Water Source Wells that meet the definition in the PNGA require an OGAA Well Permit.
  • All Water Source Wells are subject to applicable requirements of the Drilling and Production Regulation (DPR).

In addition to requirements under OGAA regulations, all Water Source Wells fall under the definition of a Water Supply Well in the WSA and are subject to the requirements of the WSA and regulations, including the Groundwater Protection Regulation (GWPR). However, Water Source Wells that extract “deep groundwater” are exempt from certain requirements of the GWPR.

Groundwater Use Authorization

Operators of all Water Source Wells accessing non-deep groundwater, regardless of drill date, must apply for and obtain a WSA authorization (i.e., a licence - WSA Section 9, or use approval - WSA Section 10) to operate (i.e., to pump and store or use groundwater for oil and gas purpose).

  • Water Source Wells drilled after March 1, 2016 – A WSA licence or use approval is required prior to initiating pumping (except for specific well testing purposes as defined under the WSA).
  • Water Source Wells operating prior to March 1, 2016 - This use is considered “existing groundwater use”. All existing groundwater users must apply for a WSA authorization by March 1, 2022. By applying by March 1, 2022 users can maintain their date of precedence.
  • View the new requirements for groundwater users on the Province’s website.

Groundwater Use Reporting

Groundwater use reporting requirements may be prescribed as conditions of a WSA authorization (licence or use approval) as determined by the statutory decision maker. Where reporting is required, data is submitted either through eSubmission, or by email to OGCWater.VolumeData@bcogc.ca, as indicated on the WSA licence or use approval document.

In addition to the WSA water reporting requirements above, Water Source Wells (non-deep groundwater and deep groundwater) are also subject to the water reporting requirements under Section 72 of the DPR. Water production volumes must be metered and reported to the Commission, via Petrinex. A well completion event in the Water Source Well must be reported to the Commission to enable reporting via Petrinex.

Further information related to requirements for Water Source Wells can be found here:

If you have any questions regarding this Industry Bulletin, please contact:

Laurie Welch

Hydrogeologist

BC Oil and Gas Commission

Laurie.Welch@bcogc.ca

250-980-6066

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