Ministries issue caution about water licences

The Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Land remind lawyers that the Water Act of BC requires anyone conveying or disposing of land to report the change of ownership to the Comptroller of Water Rights if there are one or more water licences appurtenant to the land. All water licences are appurtenant to land and must be transferred to the new owner, complete with consideration of prepayments or arrears. Water licences are not recorded in the Land Title Office.

When conveying or disposing of land, lawyers are required to report, in writing, the transfer of ownership with water licences (s. 16(1) of the Water Act).

Water licence information is available at www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/water_rights/water_rights.html.

The status of a client’s account for water licences is available from any of the Integrated Land Management Bureau’s offices or, in Kamloops, Front Counter BC.

Call 1-800-361-8866 or fax 250 356- 0605 prior to the land sale for a current balance on the licences and to communicate the transfer of ownership.