FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A crucial deadline for select groundwater users to apply for their water licence is less than 30 days away.

Existing groundwater users have until March 1st at midnight to apply. Those who haven’t applied by the deadline will be unauthorized and must stop using water immediately.

The province warns that missing the deadline could carry a significant cost and may include fines for unlicensed use of groundwater.

Opposition parties have previously called on the BC New Democratic Party to give British Columbians more time to register.

Existing users that don’t reapply for their license will be treated as new users and will not receive recognition for their historical date of first use. This date is important because, during water shortages, older licenses receive priority access to water.

Late applications will not benefit from the waived application fee and may require costly studies to support an application. Application fees are waived for existing groundwater users who apply before the deadline.

To date, more than 16,000 groundwater users have yet to apply, according to the opposition parties.

In an effort to improve the online application experience, the Province recommends that those applying online for a water license have several key pieces of information ready, such as the well’s location, depth and construction, property and water use, evidence of when groundwater was first used, history of use from the well and other information about water use and works.

To apply online visit https://portal.nrs.gov.bc.ca/web/client/-/secure-your-water-rights-today