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The oil and gas industry is required to immediately suspend all previously approved water diversion under Section 10 of the Water Sustainability Act within rivers, streams, and lakes in the Nicola Basin due to drought conditions.

DATE ISSUED: Aug. 31, 2022


The BC Energy Regulator (Regulator) is requiring the oil and gas industry to immediately suspend all previously approved water diversion under Section 10 of the Water Sustainability Act within rivers, streams and lakes in the Nicola Basin, due to drought conditions. More information can be found on the B.C. Government Drought Information page and Drought Information portal.

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

Basins in other regions of B.C. are being monitored and further suspensions of water diversions are possible if drought conditions persist in coming weeks.

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 Regulator 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

If you have any questions regarding this Directive, please contact:

Ryan Rolick, M.Sc., GIT

Environmental Specialist

BC Energy Regulator


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

Executive Director, Responsible Stewardship

BC Energy Regulator


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