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Liquid assets: The Value of North Eastern British Columbia’s Groundwater Resources in the Face of Climate Change and Competing Uses

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Northeastern British Columbia will experience future groundwater scarcity as a result of climate change and competing uses of water. The Government of British Columbia (BC) now regulates groundwater for the first time in history through the Water Sustainability Act (WSA). The WSA allocates water based on a first-in-time, first-in-right system which does not promote sustainability or efficiency.This study uses lessons learned from water management in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin, Alberta’s South Saskatchewan River Basin, California’s Kern County Subbasin, and Colorado’s Denver Basin to formulate policy options for sustainable and efficient groundwater management in BC.This study recommends that the BC Government begin a water market pilot program, continue to collect data about BC’s water, begin a groundwater banking feasibility study, and increase the price of water to capture more rents.
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