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Water Stewardship Division

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Groundwater and Water Well Act and Eight Point Groundwater Strategy

On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship introduced a new Groundwater and Water Well Act into the legislature.  The new Act will replace the existing Ground Water and Water Well Act that is nearly 50 years old.  The Groundwater and Water Well Act  was subsequently passed and received Royal Assent on June 14, 2012.  The new Act is part of a new eight-point Groundwater Strategy.

The Groundwater and Water Well Act  is a key component of the province’s strategy to protect aquifers, groundwater, and those who rely on well water.  The eight-point strategy includes:

  • Strong new rules to govern well drilling and sealing and to formalize aquifer management planning
  • New educational materials for well owners will be developed in partnership with stakeholders to support the new regulatory requirements that wells be properly maintained
  • Development of a modernized groundwater and well database including web-based information to provide improved and more accessible information to well owners, drillers and sealers
  • Improved mapping of groundwater to ensure the availability of updated maps such as of overburden thickness, water quality and flowing well areas
  • New oversight and support to small (semi-public) water system owners including those that use groundwater as a water source
  • Improved pattern surveillance and investigation of well water quality contamination events with the potential to affect private wells
  • Increased technical support for compliance with the Drinking Water Safety Act for public and semi-public systems including those that use groundwater as a water source; and
  • New water advisory guidelines including thresholds for issuing and ending advisories for small communities served by individual wells.

The new Act deals with a number of issues not currently included in legislation or where strengthening of legislation is needed to provide additional protection to groundwater and aquifers.  The new Act includes measures to manage and protect groundwater, as well as to strengthen legislation governing the drilling, construction, maintenance, and sealing of wells. New and improved licensing and standards to protect groundwater and well owners and first-in-Manitoba certification requirements for well drillers and sealers will be developed.  In addition to water supply wells, the new Act also applies to geothermal, geotechnical, and monitoring wells.  The new Act will formalize the process for establishing aquifer management plans for the management, protection, and sustainable use of aquifers.  The new Act also enables the development of supporting regulations.

The current Ground Water and Well Water Act will remain in force until regulations are developed and in effect for the various sections of the new Groundwater and Water Well Act.  Regulation development will involve input from stakeholders.

Should you have any questions, please e-mail: groundwater@gov.mb.ca
or phone: (204) 945-6959 in Winnipeg, or toll free at 1-800-282-8069 (extension 6959).