The District of Highlands is one of 13 municipalities located within the Capital Regional District (CRD), encompassing approximately 37 square kilometers and located northwest of Victoria, B.C. The majority of the residential population of approximately 2,100 obtains potable water from private, individual water wells. A small number of individual residences obtain potable water from local streams and lakes under surface water licenses.
Highlands Bylaw No. 154 outlines the standards for regulating the subdivision or development of land within the Highlands, including standards for sanitary sewage systems and standards for water service. Under Bylaw No. 154, each lot is required to have an individual well that has been evaluated by a qualified professional and meets the bylaw requirements, including a yield of at least 4,000 litres per day and compliance with minimum water quality guidelines.
In 2007 the District of Highlands contracted with Golder Associates to conduct research around local groundwater use which resulted in a three-phase groundwater protection report. You can find more information regarding that report here.
The Province of BC on February 29, 2016 announced several initial regulations that have now come into force under the Water Sustainability Act.
Water Sustainability Regulation
mandates the licensing of groundwater for non-domestic use – this includes community water supply, agricultural irrigation, industry etc.
groundwater users (non-domestic) will have a one-year grace period to apply for a license and have the application fee waived.
groundwater users have three years (from Feb. 29, 2016) to apply for a license if they want to maintain their priority date of first use.
all applications received after March 1, 2019 will be treated as new users, with no historic priority date of use.
Groundwater Protection Regulation
outlines operating and maintenance requirements and standards for groundwater wells.
mandates the submission of well records for newly drilled wells.
Other new regulations include: Dam Safety Regulation, Violation Ticket and Fines Regulation, Fees and Rentals Regulation.
Further essential regulations will be developed under the Water Sustainability Act such as: