Groundwater and Water Well Act and Supporting Regulations

Manitoba's new Groundwater and Water Well Act received Royal Assent in June 2012.  The new Act will replace the existing Ground Water and Water Well Act that is over 50 years old. New regulations will also replace the existing Well Drilling Regulation that is over 45 years old. The new Act and its supporting regulations are part of an eight-point Groundwater Strategy that will help ensure sustainable groundwater for future generations.  

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 addresses a number of issues not included in previous legislation, and also addresses issues where strengthening of legislation is needed to provide additional protection to groundwater and aquifers.  The new Act:

  • Includes measures to protect groundwater and well owners, and strengthens legislation governing the construction, maintenance, and sealing of wells
  • Allows for development of new and improved licensing and standards to protect groundwater and well owners
  • Allows for certification requirements for well drillers, and well sealers and pump installers
  • Applies to geothermal, geotechnical, monitoring and water supply wells
  • Formalizes the process for establishing aquifer management plans for the management, protection and sustainable use of aquifers
  • Enables the development of supporting regulations

The existing Ground Water and Well Water Act will remain in force until new 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 and the public. For information on the development of and consultation process for the new regulations, click here.

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