Complete Water Licence Abandonment

Complete Water Licence Abandonment

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This application allows you to request to entirely abandon your rights and obligations under an existing water licence.

NOTE: If you only wish to partially abandon your rights and obligations (abandon some of the water allocated on your licence) you must use the Water Licence Amendment application.

Costs and Responsibilities


No fees are charged.


What you need to apply

The information required to complete an application for complete abandonment of your water rights and obligations is:

  • The name and contact information of the applicant and the applicant's agent, if applicable. If there are co-applicants for the abandonment, a BCeID is required in order to complete and submit the application. Obtain the BCeID before starting your abandonment application as you will not be able to save your application without it.
  • Your water licence number

Finding your Water Licence Number
Do you need help finding your water licence number? You can find three easy ways on our help page.


  • The reason why you would like to abandon your licence.
  • If the mortgage was filed with the Comptroller of Water Rights or Regional Water Manager then you will need to upload a digital copy of the Letter of Release.
  • If there is a pending Sales Agreement for the land, upload a digital copy of the pending Sales Agreement.
  • Purpose of authorized works and their current status (not constructed / partly constructed / fully constructed)
  • Written approval of all parties who are on title for the appurtenant land, mine or undertaking. An approval form with the appropriate details will be generated for you by the online application system. Approval can be in writing by signing the form or electronically by e-mail.

What happens after you apply

Your application will go through the following process before a decision is reached for successful applications.

  1. Receiving the application
    FrontCounter BC staff will review your application to make sure that it is complete. If more information is required they will contact you. Your application will not be accepted for adjudication until all required information is received.

Only complete applications can be processed. To be complete, FrontCounter BC must receive all signatures (including applicant, co-applicant and affected landowners) with the application.


  1. Consultations & Referrals
    Other government agencies, affected landowners, other licensees, community groups or other parties may be notified of your application and given the chance to respond. First Nations in the area may also be consulted if required.
  2. Review
    Once FCBC receives all comments and objections from potentially affected parties, and any additional information provided by you, your application will undergo a technical review. During the technical review process you may be asked to provide additional information or may be required to undertake further study to support your application. On the basis of this review, a recommendation is made for the consideration of a statutory decision maker, normally a Water Manager, who is authorized under legislation to amend a water licence.
  3. Decision
    A Water Manager from Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will decide whether to approve your application after weighing the information and will inform you of the decision.
Link Description
Water Sustainability Act The Water Sustainability Act is the principal law for managing the diversion and use of water resources in B.C.
Water Sustainability Act - Regulations The Water Sustainability Act (WSA) regulations provide details about how the general principles in the WSA are to be applied in B.C.
Water Policies Policies have been developed under the current Water Sustainability Act and informed by other provincial legislation to help guide the management of B.C.’s water resource.
Mapping Tools A listing of free B.C. web-based mapping programs and tools available to the public.
Water Licensing and Rights Information on water licensing and rights in B.C.
Water Licenses and Approvals General guidance on water licences and use approvals in B.C.
Water Use Purposes Categories and definitions for water use purposes in B.C.
Water Application Fees, Rentals and Refunds Guidance on water application fees, water rental rates, including a water rent estimator tool, and refund policy.
Drawing Standards Water application drawing standards required for application submission.
Joint Works Agreement Information on a Joint Works Agreement--where two or more applicants need to share in the construction or maintenance of works to be jointly used under a water licence or use approval.
Water Rights Databases Tools to search for information related to water licences, water users’ communities, and permits over Crown Land.

Tips for a successful application

Follow these tips to make the application process easier:

  1. Review this guide and have all the information and documents ready before you start.
  2. Use a Basic, Personal or Business BCeID for your application. A BCeID is easy to get and allows you to save your application, reopen it, and check the status of your application online. Applications will automatically time-out after a certain period of inactivity if not saved.
  3. Contact FrontCounter BC before you begin to help you with all natural resource applications.