FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — All previously approved water diversions are suspended for oil and gas operators utilizing the Peace River and Liard River watersheds due to the current drought in the province.
The BCER announced the suspension on July 12, effective immediately.
The drought level in the Peace has been identified as a four out of five for much of July, meaning “adverse impacts to socio-economic or ecosystem values are likely,” according to the BC Drought Information Portal.
The suspension includes rivers, streams and lakes in the following basins:
Peace River Watershed:
- Pine River (Sukunka River, Murray River)
- Beatton River (Doig River, Osborn River, Blueberry River)
- Kiskatinaw River
Liard River Watershed:
- Fontas River
- Sikanni Chief River
- Prophet River
- Kiwigana River
The agency notes water stored in dugouts and dams can still be utilized, and there is a possibility that some streams may recover to allow some water use.
The energy regulator said it would review new applications for diversion or requests to use existing approvals on a site-specific basis.
Permit holders may discuss the suspension with the agency and submit a request for continued water use by providing location-specific data and subject matter expert opinion relevant to local streamflow conditions.
The BCER said basins across B.C. are being monitored, and further suspensions of water diversions are possible if conditions continue.
For more on the suspension, which includes information for permit holders seeking to discuss the suspension or submit a request for water use, click here.