If you divert and use groundwater for non-domestic purposes, you must now obtain a water licence and pay water fees and rentals. This change came into force with the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) on February 29, 2016.
The provincial government estimated there should be approximately 8,000 applications for historical groundwater that was in use prior to February 29, 2016 (that needed to be licensed for agriculture). The deadline to apply for Existing Use Groundwater is now less than 6 months away—March 1, 2022—but currently, only 1/3 of the expected agricultural applications have been submitted.
Irrigated agriculture is responsible for 80% of our province’s farm cash reciepts, and from the provincial government’s Land Use Inventory, it’s estimated that 35% of our province’s irrigation is from groundwater.
If producers apply before the application deadline of March 1, 2022:
If producers wait and apply after the deadline:
If you haven’t yet applied, you can do so online. Learn more here.