Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Surface Water

Surface Water Allocation

Fair allocation of water resources to water users is a responsibility of Nova Scotia Environment which is delivered through its Water Approval process. An approval is required for withdrawals of water greater than 23,000 liters /day (Activities Designation Regulations). Allocation is intended to ensure sustainable use including protection of other water users and maintenance of fish habitat. The Water Resources Protection Act (2000) is also in place to address proposals for large scale bulk removals of water from the province.

Surface water withdrawal approvals allow the department to assess the potential effects of each proposed withdrawal on a case-by-case basis and track how much water has been allocated in watersheds across the province. In some cases, a hydrological study must be completed to evaluate the potential effects of the proposed withdrawal on existing surface water users and the environment. The evaluation includes an assessment of the following: sustainable flows / levels of the lake or stream, water quality effects, maintenance of flows for fish and other aquatic life habitat, and the potential for impacts on other water withdrawals and/or water users.