Community Questions about Water

The Sunshine Coast Regional District regularly receives questions about water in the Region. Below are answers to some of the most common questions received.

The ability to manage growth is complex and spans between multiple governing authorities. Regional Districts do not have authority available to local governments through the Local Government Act, Community Charter, or other provincial legislation for a blanket moratorium on development approvals.

In 2018, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy rejected the SCRD’s Chapman Lake Expansion project application. As a result, the SCRD’s proposed expansion of the Chapman Water System infrastructure in Tetrahedron Provincial Park did not and will not proceed.

Permits for watering new lawns are not  available. New lawns should be established in early spring prior to possible summer droughts. Sprinkling lawns is permitted two mornings per week in Stage 1, hand watering is permitted at any time in Stage 1. Review sprinkling regulations for complete details here.

The commercial car washes on the Sunshine Coast do not use SCRD water for operations.

Golf courses on the Sunshine Coast do not use SCRD water to maintain greens and fairways.

The SCRD does not provide exemptions to Water Conservation Regulations, or issue exemption signage. However, the SCRD Water Conservation Regulations only apply to treated drinking water from SCRD systems. Water that is collected from rain or a private well, or other means, is not regulated by the SCRD. Generally, the intent of such privately made signs are to indicate that SCRD water is not being used for irrigation or business activities.

Do we live in a rain forest? It depends on where you live.

Areas on the Sunshine Coast with an elevation above approximately 700 meters are in the Southern Pacific Ranges Ecosection, which is described as an area of “high rainfall”, and would likely fall in the temperate rainforest category.

However, areas of the Sunshine Coast below 700 metres in elevation, fall within the Lower Mainland Ecoregion, which is described as “an area of reduced rainfall” with rainfall increasing towards the Coast Ranges and “the rainshadow is most distinct on the lowlands and Fraser River delta.”

The Georgia Depression (which encompasses the Lower Mainland Ecoregion but not the higher elevation Southern Pacific Ranges Ecosection) is an area that is clearly within the rain shadow of Vancouver Island, and has “the greatest annual amounts of sunshine in BC”.

In short: if you live below 700 meters on the Sunshine Coast, then you don’t live in a rainforest.

All of the ecosystem boundaries are shifting with climate change and our region has been experiencing successive droughts compared to normal rainfall years.

Provision of water to shishalh Nation members for domestic use dates back to 1945. The SCRD has continued the provision of water for domestic use to shishalh Nation since incorporating in 1969. As per the original agreement, there has never been a charge for the provision of water for domestic use for shishalh Nation members. All other forms of use are part of the water service and charged accordingly.

Note: The definition of Domestic use at the time of entering into the agreement in 1945 is almost the same as the current definition:

At the time (developed in 1939), Domestic use was defined in the Water Act,

domestic use” means the use of water for household requirement, sanitation, and fire prevention, the watering of domestic animals and poultry, and the irrigation of a garden not exceeding one-quarter of an acre adjoining and occupied with a dwelling house;

Is currently (2023) defined in the Water Sustainability Act as:

“domestic purpose” means the use of water for household purposes by the occupants of, subject to the regulations, one or more private dwellings, other than multi-family apartment buildings, including, without limitation, hotels and strata titled or cooperative buildings, located on a single parcel, including, without limitation, the following uses:

(a)drinking water, food preparation and sanitation;

(b)fire prevention;

(c)providing water to animals or poultry kept

(i)for household use, or

(ii)as pets;

(d)irrigation of a garden not exceeding 1 000 m2 that is adjoining and occupied with a dwelling;

Individual water meters for shishalh Nation were not within the scope of the current water meter project. The SCRD Board has approved $250k to install a “Zone Meter” at the boundary of the shíshálh lands.

The shíshálh Nation and SCRD have requested funding from the Province of BC that would allow for water meters to be installed at all shíshálh Nation connections. As of June, 2024 there has been no confirmation of funding for individual meters from the Province of BC.