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Water Stewardship Division

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Water Use Licensing - Obtaining a Water Rights Licence

The Water Use Licensing Section of Manitoba Water Stewardship, has the responsibility for allocating the use of water resources within the province. The water rights licensing system ensures that water resources are allocated in the best possible manner. Any individual or corporation who wishes to use water for agricultural, municipal, industrial, irrigation or other purposes must first obtain a license. (Use of surface water and groundwater for domestic purposes does not require a Water Rights Licence unless consumption exceeds 25,000 Litres, the equivalent of 5,500 Imperial Gallons, per day.)

Definitions
Groundwater: Groundwater refers to water that comes from an aquifer and is accessed by a well, spring, or groundwater-fed dugout. It is located below the ground surface.
Surface Water: Surface water refers to water that comes from a river, lake, creek, etc. or spring run-off. It is located on the ground surface.
Agricultural Purposes: Agricultural purposes means the use of water at a rate of more than 25,000 Litres per day for the production of primary agricultural products, but does not include the use of water for irrigation purposes.
Domestic Purposes: Domestic purposes means the use of water, obtained from a source other than a municipal or community water distribution system, at a rate of not more than 25,000 Litres per day, for household and sanitary purposes, for watering lawns and gardens, and watering livestock and poultry. Note: A licence is not required for domestic purposes unless the rate exceeds 25,000 Litres per day.
Industrial Purposes: Industrial purposes means the use of water obtained from a source other than a municipal or community water distribution system, for operation of an industrial plant producing goods or services other than primary agricultural products. It does not include the sale or barter of water for those purposes or the use of water for recreation.
Irrigation Purposes: Irrigation purposes means the use of water at a rate of more than 25,000 Litres per day for the artificial application to soil to supply moisture essential to plant growth.
Municipal Purposes: Municipal purposes means the use of water by a municipality or a community for the purpose of supplying a municipal or community water distribution system for household and sanitary purposes, for industrial use or uses related to industry, for watering streets, walks, paths, boulevards, lawns and gardens, for protection of property, for flushing sewers and for other purposes usually served by a municipal or community water distribution system.
Other Purposes: Other purposes means the use of water for purposes that do not fit into any of the above noted categories. Some examples include recreation, fire fighting and air heating/cooling systems.

Water Rights Licensing Process

Agricultural irrigation system

To apply for a Water Rights Licence, download an application form from this website. Mail the completed application form along with the applicable fee (cheque or money order made payable to the Minister of Finance) to:

Manitoba Water Stewardship
Cashiers Office
Box 42, 200 Saulteaux Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3J 3W3

A separate licence is required for each source (and/or location) from which water is to be obtained. Applications for water use will be reviewed by the Water Use Licensing Section to determine the availability of the water supply affected and the amount of unallocated water remaining.

After you submit an application for a Water Rights License, a representative of the Water Use Licensing Section will contact you to clarify your proposal. A longer period of time may be required for the review of more complex proposals, especially if a study of water supply and demand or downstream effects is necessary.

Once the application is approved by Manitoba Water Stewardship, a Water Rights License will be issued. Licenses are issued for a time period appropriate for the situation to a maximum of 20 years, and may be renewed upon application. A valid license (or in some cases written authorization for temporary water use) under the act is required before water can be diverted and/or used for the proposed project. Licenses or authorizations are only valid once the Executive Director, Regulatory and Opertional Services Division, Manitoba Water Stewardship has signed them on behalf of the minister.

There are no verbal approvals or authorizations for the construction of works or diversion of water.