Notification of Authorized Changes In and About a Stream

Notification of Authorized Changes In and About a Stream

Notification for authorized changes in and about a stream, are specified in Part 3 of the Water Sustainability Regulation. Authorized changes are activities that typically have minimal impact on the environment or third parties. Work associated with authorized changes must meet the requirements of the Water Sustainability Regulation, and comply with any conditions set out by a habitat officer in response to a notification.

Related Activities: Change Approvals, Water Licences, Short Term Use of Water


About this Activity Guide

This guide summarizes the most common requirements and recommendations for your chosen activity and is designed to help you submit a complete application. Be aware that this information is for guidance purposes only.

You must submit your Notification of Authorized Changes to FrontCounter BC a minimum of 45 days before beginning work (submitting more than 45 days ahead of time is recommended). If you have not heard from the habitat officer within 45 days of FrontCounter BC receiving your Notification of Authorized Changes, you must make sure that your work meets the terms and conditions described in Part 3 of the Water Sustainability Regulation, and you may proceed with the proposed changes. If you were requested to provide more information, the clock resets and the 45 days begins on the date you provided the additional information.

Please Note: Notification of Authorized Changes for emergency work by a municipality or their agent for erosion protection, flood prevention, and clearing bridges or culverts of debris during a flood emergency does not require an application. You must report these changes to a habitat officer within 72 hours after making the change. You must comply with any Terms and Conditions specified by the habitat officer that relate to Section 44(2) of the Water Sustainability Regulation.

Mandatory Authorizations

Authorization Name Link to Authorization Guidance Link to Application
Notification of Authorized Changes (Water Sustainability Regulation) Authorization Guidance Apply Now


Cost may be a specific value or range of values. The cost includes GST, where applicable.

Cost Type Cost Description Cost Link to Details
N/A N/A No Fees.

Eligibility Requirements

Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements prior to applying.

Requirement Description
Any There are no limitations on who may apply, however, landowner consent must be provided for any lands where work is being done for this authorization.
Oil and gas related activities If work in this application is being done to support oil and gas activities that are being authorized by the BC Energy Regulator please apply here instead.

Information Requirements

Requirement Description Link to Details
Change Approval and Notification Online Application An online system which requires you to enter information onscreen and upload documentation, digital files and/or maps to support your application.

Notifications must be for works included in the list of authorized changes from the Water Sustainability Regulations.
What You Need To Apply
Proof of Legal Right to Land Documentation that you have legal right to the land, e.g., Certificate of Title or copy of a lease.
Drawings A drawing that meets the Water Application Drawing Standards. Drawing Standards

Potential Additional Requirements

Requirement Description When is it Required?
Federal Authorizations Federal authorizations to address the parts of your proposal that may apply to Federal Navigable Waters Protection Act, Migratory Birds Regulation and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Assessments for projects near water. When disturbing fish habitat, impacting migratory birds or impacting navigable waters.
Fish and Wildlife General Permit Allows for destruction of a beaver or muskrat den, house or beaver dam. This permit is generally issued ONLY to protect against property damage.
Local Government Zoning Bylaws Check applicable local government bylaws to identify any requirements. When activity is located within local government area such as a municipality.
Supplemental Information or Technical Reports Case-specific information required to make a decision on your application. This information supplements what you already submitted. E.g., geotechnical report, fish report, or erosion control plans, etc. When government staff ask you to provide it.
Water Rights Authorization under the Water Sustainability Act which allows you to use freshwater, or to work in or around freshwater. If you will be using or working in or around freshwater.
Link Description
Water Sustainability Act The Water Sustainability Act is the principal law for managing the diversion and use of water resources in B.C.
Water Sustainability Act - Regulations The Water Sustainability Act (WSA) regulations provide details about how the general principles in the WSA are to be applied in B.C.
Water Policies Policies have been developed under the current Water Sustainability Act and informed by other provincial legislation to help guide the management of B.C.’s water resource.
Mapping Tools A listing of free B.C. web-based mapping programs and tools available to the public.
Working Around Water Guidance on making a change in and about a stream and more information on instream best practices.
Change Approval and Notification Information More information on applying for a change approval or submitting a notification of instream work.
A User's Guide for Changes In and About a Stream in B.C. General guidance on how to consider the Water Sustainability Act in planning for changes in and about a stream in B.C.
Requirements and Best Management Practices for Making Changes In and About a Stream in B.C. Guidance on making a change in and about a stream and best management practices to consider when designing projects.
Water Application Fees, Rentals and Refunds Guidance on water application fees, water rental rates, including a water rent estimator tool, and refund policy.
Terms, Conditions, and Timing Windows – Regional and Federal Guidance on when you can carry out your works in and about a stream, including regional timing windows and Federal regulations.

Other Things You Should Know

Archaeology Information
Archaeological sites are protected under the Heritage Conservation Act and must not be altered or damaged without a permit issued by the Archaeology Branch. Information regarding potential risks to protected archaeological sites may be obtained by submitting an online data request form to the Archaeology Branch or by contacting a professional archaeologist via the BC Association of Professional Archaeologists ( or via local directories. Visit the Archaeology Branch website for more information.

BCeID - What Is It and Why Get It?
BCeID is an online service that allows you to create a user ID and password to sign in securely to many Government services in British Columbia. The benefits of having a BCeID account include:

  • Stop and start. Save and return later to complete your application without losing any information previously entered.
  • Real time status information. Check the status of your application in real time.
  • Access your applications for multiple people (Business BCeID only) to edit or submit your application or check its status. To enroll in this service, visit the BCeID web page: FrontCounter BC - BCeID

Legal Disclaimer
This guide provides the most current and accurate information available to the Government of British Columbia at the time of publishing; however, we make no warranty regarding the completeness, currency or accuracy of this information. This information is for guidance purposes only and does not replace legislated requirements. Each application is unique and circumstances may result in additional requirements beyond those included in this guide.

Last Updated: July 14, 2023