Well registration deadline extended

Non-residential well owners will have ample opportunity to register their wells.

The Kettle River Watershed Authority is praising an extension to the provincial deadline for non-residential well owners to register their well without an application fee.

In a recent press release, the Kettle River Watershed Authority said it was pleased that the province had decided to extend the deadline to March 1, 2019 for well owners to register their well without an application fee. The previous deadline had been set for Dec. 31, 2017.

Non-domestic well owners must register their wells with the government due to regulations under the Water Sustainability Act, which came into force in February 2016. Well owners who don’t register their wells may loose their “first in time, first in rights” privileges to well water in event of a drought or other well water prohibition. Domestic well water users are not affected.

By registering before the deadline, well owners can avoid what is estimated to be a $250-$1,000 fee according to the watershed authority, depending on use. Even after the application fee waive deadline, well owners must still register their well.

Jessica Mace, coordinator for the watershed authority, said in a press release that the public has been frustrated with the lack of communication from the province about the well application fee waiving deadline and the new regulations.

“The public has voiced frustration that there was very little or no notice given by the BC Government about the new regulation,” Mace notes in the release. “Your local Kettle River Watershed Authority (supported by the RDKB) has attempted to fill this void of provincial government outreach.”

Mace notes that the watershed authority has raised awareness of the deadlines through social media and local news outlets, run a free workshop to guide owners through registration on the spot, and provided one-on-one help as needed.

Mace also said that the online registration process can be difficult and cumbersome to use.

RDKB Area E director Vicki Gee said in the press release that the extension is good news for locals.

“The reason I’m really happy for the extension is that the communication from the provincial government has been lacking and I am glad that people have the opportunity to apply without a fee,” Gee said.

Non-domestic well owners are encouraged to contact the Kettle River Watershed Authority at 250-442-4111 or plan@kettleriver.ca with questions.

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