Judith Goplen v. Assistant Water Manager
Decision Date: June 7, 2022
Panel: Brenda Edwards
Keywords: Water Sustainability Act - ss. 6(1), 14(1)(a); licence; lake; garden watering; expert evidence; environmental flow needs
Judith Goplen appealed the denial of her application for a licence to divert water from Kalamalka Lake to water a garden on her property. The decision was made by an Assistant Water Manager (the “Manager”) in the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Ms. Goplen proposed to use lake water instead of treated water for watering her garden. The Manager denied the water licence application on the basis that Ms. Goplen’s property is served by the Greater Vernon Water (“GVW”) utility, which provides sufficient water for her garden.
On appeal, Ms. Goplen asserted that there would be no net increase in water removed from Kalamalka Lake if her application is granted, and that it is more cost effective and efficient to take water directly from the lake rather than pumping and treating it before using it for watering.
Based on the evidence, the Board found that Ms. Goplen had sufficient water supply from the GVW for the garden on her property. The Board also found that granting the proposed licence would undermine provincial and regional water conservation goals, including a GVW Management Plan which did not contemplate withdrawing water directly from Kalamalka Lake for domestic outdoor watering. Also, there was evidence that there is an insufficient water in Kalamalka Lake to meet environmental flow needs on a consistent basis. Additionally, there was some evidence that installing the proposed intake and irrigation system may adversely impact the lake’s foreshore or fish habitat.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.