Drinking Water Legislation & Approval

Drinking Water Legislation and Approval

Drinking Water

Drinking water in BC is regulated under the Drinking Water Protection Act (Act) and the Drinking Water Protection Regulation (Regulation). Drinking Water Officers (DWOs) conduct inspections and work with water suppliers to meet the Act and Regulation. The primary goal is to work with suppliers so they can provide potable water that is safe to drink without further treatment.

The DWO is responsible for compliance with the Act and Regulation within an assigned geographic area. This is done through inspection, education, and where necessary, enforcement.

In the Act, a water supply system provides water for drinking, food preparation and other household purposes. A water supply system is a well or surface water intake that serves more than a single family home. Water supply systems can be two homes on a shared well or intake, or with shared distribution lines.

Suppliers are required to:

  • Comply with the Act and Regulation
  • Obtain a construction permit or construction permit wavier prior to constructing or modifying the water system
  • Obtain an operating permit
  • Operate the system according to the legislation and any terms and conditions on the permit
  • Have a trained water system operator
  • Have an emergency response and contingency plan
  • Monitor the quality of the water
  • Immediately notify the DWO of any threats to the drinking water
  • Provide public notice of threats as required
  • Make emergency response plans and annual reports public 
  • Conduct water source and system assessments

To learn more about boil water notices, water sampling, turbidity and more, visit our page on What to do During a Boil Water Notice.

Drinking Water Reports and Summaries

You can find Drinking Water Reports and Summaries on Healthspace.ca 


Water System Approval Process

All water systems other than a single family home require Island Health approval. Some examples include:

  • Restaurants or other businesses where the public may access the water
  • Community halls
  • Mobile home parks
  • Campsites
  • Municipal systems

Information on the approval process can be found in the Water System Approval Process links. The steps to become approved include:

  • Approval of the source, including bacteriological and chemical water quality
  • Receipt of a construction permit or waiver issued by the Public Health Engineer prior to construction or modification of the system 
  • Construction of the system according to the construction permit or waiver.
  • Providing an operator qualified to operate the system
  • Providing an Emergency Response and Contingency Plan
  • Providing a water quality monitoring plan

Depending on the system, there may be other requirements. Contact a DWO for more information.

Medical Health Officer's Report and Drinking Water Maps

MHO Drinking Water 2017 Report 
MHO Drinking Water in Island Health - 2014 Report 
Island Health Service Delivery Areas Map 
Water Sources by System Size 
North Island Water Sources by System Size 
Central Island Water Sources by System Size 
South Island Water Sources by System Size 
North Island Water Sources by Type 
Central Island Water Sources by Type 
South Island Water Sources by Type 
Campbell River Watershed 
First Nations Water Sources by Type 
Regional Water Related Issues and Implications 

Health and Safety Tips

Recommended precautions for water and food affected by fire retardants 
Wells and Surface Flooding 
Common Questions about Lead and Drinking Water 
Salt Spring Island Drinking Water - Microcystins 

Water System Approval Process

Getting Started 
Legislation Related to the Protection of Drinking Water 
What is a Water Supplier Required to do? 
Water System Approval Process 
Guidelines for the Approval of Water Supply System 
Minimum Sampling Parameters for Groundwater 
Minimum Sampling Parameters for Surface Water Sources


New and Existing Unapproved Water System Approval Submission 
Drinking Water System Application 
Water Supply Construction Application 
Submission Requirements Construction Permit Waiver Request 
Construction Permit Waiver Request Form 
Annual Report Template - Small to Mid-size 
Small Water System ERP Template 

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