Dike Maintenance Act Approval

Dike Maintenance Act Approval

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Under the Dike Maintenance Act (DMA), "dike" means:

  • An embankment, wall, fill, piling, pump, gate, floodbox, pipe, sluice, culvert, canal, ditch, drain or any other thing that is constructed, assembled or installed to prevent the flooding of land.

Under the Dike Maintenance Act (DMA), "diking authority” means:

  • the commissioners of a district to which Part 2 of the Drainage, Ditch and Dike Act applies,

  • a person owning or controlling a dike other than a private dike,

  • a public authority designated as having any responsibility for maintenance of a dike other than a private dike, or

  • a regional district, a municipality or an improvement district;

A private dike is a dike built on private property that protects only that property. Private dikes are not regulated under the DMA and approvals are not required for works related to private dikes. However, work related to private dikes may require authorizations and approvals under other pieces of legislation such as the Water Sustainability Act and the Fisheries Act.

DMA Approvals

A DMA approval is a written authorization to make changes to a dike or construction of a new dike. 

Before completing an application, you will need to contact your local diking authority.  A list of dikes by Owner/Authority can be found on the Flood Protection Structures in BC site, or by clicking here.

If the work required is to be done in or adjacent to a stream channel, then a Water Sustainability Act (WSA) change approval or notification of instream works may also be required.

Costs and Responsibilities

DMA Approval

There is no fee to submit DMA Approval.

What you need to apply

To complete the application, you need the following:


  • The name and contact information of the applicant and the applicant's agent, if applicable. If there are co-applicants for the licence, a BCeID is required in order to complete and submit the application. Obtain the BCeID before starting your water licence application as you will not be able to save your application without it.
  • The name of the local Diking Authority that oversees work on the dike.
  • The name of the dike.
  • If the construction of new dike or modification of existing dike meets the requirements of the Environment Assessment Act’s Reviewable Projects Regulation, then an Environment Assessment Certificate is required.  Please review the requirements here.
  • Location description for the land or undertaking, if any, to which the DMA approval is to be appurtenant;
  • A start date and end date for the proposed work. You must confirm that your works will be carried out within the approved regional timing window. If your proposed work will not fall within the regional timing window, you must provide a detailed explanation and reasoning.
  • Details of the activities and proposed works;
  • Written consent from the landowner, if different than the applicant, for the use of the land for any works or construction of any works;
  • Contact information for site supervision and construction. 

Multi-Site Applications:

The DMA Approval application allows the submission of multiple locations along a dike structure when appropriate. It is preferrable that the application is submitted as a single site application; however, each situation is different, so we recommend contacting your regional Deputy Inspector of Dikes to discuss your project in advance.

When preparing a multi-site application, please consider the following:

  • All locations and activities/works should be associated with the same project or initiative.
  • All sites should be located on the same dike structure and no more than 20 sites included per application. More than this should be confirmed in advance.
  • Create a separate location for each site on the application form (Location of Works section)
  • Project descriptions should be site-specific, do not copy and paste the same information for each site if there are different considerations.


  • Drawings that clearly show all the requirements for the type of work that is being requested.  Please review the design documentation requirements in the Approval process for the Dike Maintenance Act Approvals Site. The following drawings are required:
    • General location plan
    • Detailed site plan
    • Preliminary design drawings & specifications
  • Professional Engineer letter that all drawings have been reviewed and meet flood protection engineering requirements. The Letter that needs to be signed by the engineer can be found in the Certification section of the Approval process section for the Dike Maintenance Act Approvals Site.
  • Design brief clearly discussing all design calculations & assumptions, signed and stamped by a qualified professional engineer
  • Copies of as-built drawings for the dike (where applicable)
  • A copy of your letter of agency or other proof of authorization, if you are an agent or third party filling out the application on behalf of the applicant.
  • A copy of any permit, tenure or other authorization to use Crown land relevant to the locations of the changes, or proof that an application for the appropriate Crown land authorization has been made. If you have not already applied for a Crown land authorization, you will complete the application as part of the change approval application process.

What happens after you apply

Your application will go through the following process before any decision is made about whether the change approval will be granted.

  1. Receiving the application

When Natural Resource applications are submitted, it is expected that they meet the posted application requirements for that application type, both in quality and completeness, so that the proposal is ready to move towards a decision in a timely manner. 

Poor quality or incomplete applications can result in substantial delays and create significant workload impacts to ministry staff. In order to improve application turnaround times, applicants are required to provide missing information or respond to FrontCounter BC staff requests within 2 weeks.

If applicants are not able to meet the requested timeframe, they should inform the requesting staff member as early as possible. Applications not meeting application requirements within the requested timeframes may be rejected. 

If the application is returned or not accepted, applicants can expect a detailed explanation of application deficiencies. If an application is rejected due to deficiencies, applicants may re apply at their convenience.

  1. Consultations & Referrals

Applications for DMA approvals may be referred to other provincial and federal regulatory agencies for comment during the adjudication process. Consultation with First Nations, other water users, community groups or other parties may be required if existing rights could be affected by your application.

  1. Review

Once FrontCounter BC has received all comments and objections from potentially affected parties, and any additional information provided by you or affected parties, applications undergo a technical review. During the technical review process, you may be asked to provide additional information or may be required to undertake further study to support your application. On the basis of this review, a recommendation is made for the consideration of a statutory decision maker, normally a Deputy Inspector of Dikes, who is authorized under legislation to grant a DMA approval.

  1. Decision

A Deputy Inspector of Dikes from Ministry of Forests will decide whether to approve your application after weighing the information and will inform you of the decision.

Link Description
Dike Maintenance Act The Dike Maintenance Act is the principal law for managing dike structures in B.C.
Dike Maintenance Act Approvals Dike Maintenance Act Approvals site provides details on application requirements for Dike Maintenance Act Approval applications.
Dike Management Dike Management site provides links with additional information.
Water Sustainability Act The Water Sustainability Act is the principal law for managing the diversion and use of water resources in B.C.
Environment Assessment Act Reviewable Projects Regulation The Reviewable Projects regulation is the principal law for managing which projects require review by the Environmental Assessment Office.
Mapping Tools A listing of free B.C. web-based mapping programs and tools available to the public.
Canadian Navigable Waters Act The Canadian Navigable Waters Act is a federal act respecting the protection of navigation in Canadian navigable waters.

Tips for a successful application

Follow these tips to make the application process easier:

1.    Review this guide and have all the information and documents ready before you start filling out the application.

2.    Use a Basic, Personal or Business BCeID for your application. A BCeID is easy to get and allows you to save your application, reopen it, and check the status of your application online.            Applications will automatically time-out after a certain period of inactivity if not saved.

3.    Contact FrontCounter BC before you begin, to help you with all natural resource applications.