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We are expanding the suspension of water diversions due to continued drought conditions in Northeast watersheds.

DATE ISSUED: Sept. 14, 2022

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately

The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) is requiring the oil and gas industry to immediately suspend all previously approved water diversions under Section 10 of the Water Sustainability Act, due to drought conditions. This includes rivers, streams and lakes in the following basins within the Peace River and Liard River watersheds:

Peace River Watershed:

  • Pine River (Sukunka River and Murray River)
  • Kiskatinaw River
  • Beatton River (Doig River, Osborne River, Blueberry River)
  • Halfway River

Liard River Watershed:

  • Tributaries to the Muskwa River, Fort Nelson River, and Sikanni Chief River (but does not include the Muskwa, Fort Nelson, and Sikanni Chief Rivers)

Diversion and use of water stored in dugouts or dams is not suspended and the suspension does not apply to the main channel of the Peace River or Dinosaur Lake. More information can be found on the B.C. Government Drought Information page.

Low stream flow conditions are escalating concerns for impacts to fish, aquatic resources and community supply in the above basins. Water levels are anticipated to continue dropping until significant rain falls in the area. The Commission will assist industry in identifying options for alternative short-term water supply should it be required during this period.

Applications for water diversion:

Given local variability, it is possible some streams in the areas under suspension will have recovered sufficiently to allow some water withdrawal. The Commission will review new applications for diversion, or requests to use existing approvals, on a site-specific basis.

Operators are requested to do the following to support their application or request to use an existing Section 10 approval:

  1. Limit the application to water volumes and points of diversion that are realistic to the specific operational needs for the upcoming months.
  2. For new applications for diversion for water from rivers and streams, or to request use of existing approvals, provide a good discharge measurement at the point(s) of diversion, to provide information on current flow conditions in relation to the volume of water requested. The discharge measurement will be collected to an acceptable hydrometric standard by a qualified individual.
  3. For new applications for diversion from lakes, or reactivation of existing approvals, provide information on lake bathymetry:
    1. Surface area (hectares).
    2. Depth (metres). If lake depth information is not already available from provincial databases or previous surveys, obtain depth measurements at points along two transects representing the long and short lake axes, to determine maximum lake depth.
    3. Volume.

Requests for continued water use under an existing Section 10 approval can be submitted, with required documentation, via email to Ryan.Rolick@bcogc.ca

If you have any questions regarding this Directive, please contact: Ryan Rolick, M.Sc., GIT

Environmental Specialist

BC Oil and Gas Commission

Ryan.Rolick@bcogc.ca

250-794-5213

Laurie Welch, Ph.D., P.Geo.

Executive Director, Responsible Stewardship

BC Oil and Gas Commission

Laurie.Welch@bcogc.ca

250-980-6066

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