The Water Security Agency manages, administers, develops, controls and protects the water, watersheds and related land resources of Saskatchewan.
The Water Security Agency Act requires that a Water Rights Licence be obtained for the right to use surface or ground water. Approvals are also required to construct and operate works which convey water. There are, however, some circumstances which allow domestic purpose water use projects to be exempt from requiring an approval. The following provides an overview of a domestic water user and the conditions when an approval is not required.
Domestic purpose means the use of surface water or ground water for household and sanitary purposes, the watering of stock, the spraying of crops, the watering of non-commercial lawns and gardens adjoining private residences but does not include the sale or barter of water for any purpose. Water sources may include deep or shallow wells, springs, lakes, sloughs, streams, creeks and rivers. Sources may also include storage ponds, dugouts, and cisterns which capture or hold rainwater, surface water runoff or hauled water, provided the reservoir storage capacity is less than 5000 cubic metres (4 acre-feet).
Domestic Purpose Uses Which Do Not Require a Water Rights License and Approval to Construct and Operate Works
- Any person owning or occupying land that adjoins a surface water body may use water from the source for domestic purposes, without obtaining a Water Rights Licence or Approval to Construct and Operate Works from the Water Security Agency provided no permanent works for the purpose of diverting or impounding water are required.
- Any person owning or occupying land may use up to 5000 cubic metres of water per year drawn from a dugout, constructed on that land, for domestic purposes without obtaining a Water Rights Licence, or Approval to Construct and Operate Works from the Water Security Agency provided the storage capacity of the dugout does not exceed 5000 cubic metres.
- Any person owning or occupying land may use up to 5000 cubic metres per year of ground water from beneath that land for domestic purposes without obtaining a Water Rights Licence or Approval to Construct and Operate Works.
Domestic Purpose Uses Which Require a Water Rights License and Approval to Construct and Operate Works
- Any time water use will exceed 5000 cubic meters per year.
- The project includes works (dams, dykes, ditches, etc.) for the diversion or impoundment of water.
- The project includes a dugout with a storage capacity greater than 5000 cubic metres.
- The project includes a dugout with a storage capacity less than 5000 cubic meters and works for the diversion or impoundment of water.
- Either the point of diversion or the point of water use is located on land not owned or occupied by the user.
Additional information on our approvals process is available: Ground Water Approval Process (FS-313) and Surface Water Approval Process (FS-312).
As the proponent you remain responsible for ensuring adequate land control is in place and maintained for any works that may affect land which you do not own or control. (Appendix I)
Some approvals which may also be required include:
- Where the proposed project will include works that will alter the bed, bank or boundary of a watercourse an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit may be required from the Water Security Agency.
- Additional approvals may be required from the Water Security Agency and/or the Regional Health Authority for connections to rural water pipelines.
For an application form and instructions for a Water Rights Licence and Approval to Construct and Operate Works (RG-103) go to Apply for a Permit or Licence.
Domestic Pipeline Construction Considerations
As of February 15, 2013, domestic projects that include pipelines affecting two or more distinct parcels of land no longer require approval by the Water Security Agency. Domestic water pipelines sometimes cross lands and infrastructure not owned by the proponent, as such the proponent is responsible for ensuring that adequate land control is in place and maintained, and that they are aware of any potential hazards that may result from encountering existing utilities. The following is provided for your information in addressing these concerns.
Prior to any excavation or installation of pipelines the entire right of way should be assessed to identify potential conflicts or dangers associated with existing utilities (e.g., gas, telephone, electricity, water lines). Information on public utilities and industrial lines as well as locating services is available through Sask 1st Call, either online (www.sask1stcall.com) or by telephone (1.866.828.4888).
Rights of Way and Utility Corridors
Where proposed pipelines will cross roads, railway or utility corridors the proponent is responsible for securing the necessary sanction from the appropriate land owner or administrator (e.g., Rural Municipality, Ministry of Highways, Railway Company etc.).
Private Land (belonging to a third party)
Where proposed pipelines will cross private lands, not owned or occupied by the proponent, additional measures to ensure land control should be followed. Adequate land control can be acquired through the use of a right-of-way (easement) agreement with the affected land owner. Right-of-way agreements should be registered against the property title to prevent future conflict in the event of changes to land ownership.
Protecting your Interests
When working on leased land you are advised to confirm that any plans of proposed works are reviewed and acceptable to the land owner before construction begins. You should also discuss your plans with legal counsel to determine the best way to protect your long term interests in the project in the event that one or more portions of the land affected by the pipeline change hands in the future.