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Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Photo by Birgitte Bartlett

Booklet 4 -Kitsumkalum Water

The Purpose of the Water Chapter 
The Water Chapter in the Final Agreement is about licencing water use and distributing the regulation authority of water between Kitsumkalum and BC. The water that we use for everything is not affected by the Final Agreement. The water licence that we have now will remain unaffected and will continue after the Final Agreement is in effect. 
 

The Water Chapter in the Kitsumkalum Draft Final Agreement says:
"A person seeking a Water Licence for volumes of water to be applied against the Kitsumkalum water reservation must obtain written consent from Kitsumkalum before submitting that application to British Columbia."

 
In BC, the fresh water in streams, rivers and lakes is for the use of all British Columbians and is regulated by the BC government. Anyone wanting to use water in BC must have a licence from the BC government.
The Water Chapter defines a Kitsumkalum Water Reservation for 50 000 cubic decametres of water that flows through the Kitsumkalum Treaty Settlement Lands. With the Water Reservation, Kitsumkalum will control who can be granted a water licence by the BC government against the Water Reservation. The BC Government will issue licences against the Kitsumkalum Water Reservation, but Kitsumkalum will decide if a licence will be issued. Water licences may be issued from the water reservation for a business proposed by our members or others. Kitsumkalum can charge a fee for water licences issued from our water reservation.
Kitsumkalum Treaty Team is still negotiating for additional volume for commercial hydro power generation. If successful, the commercial hydro volume will be in addition to the Kitsumkalum Water Reservation.
How will the water flowing through Kitsumkalum Lands be used and regulated?
 
 
 How will licence be issued from the Kitsumkalum Water Reservation?
 
 How much water is 50 000 cubic decametres? 
Our community uses less than 100 cubic decametres of water every year for everything, including households, businesses, fire department, offices, working with fish in the summer, etc. This is less than half of one percent of the 50,000 cubic decametres per year set out in the Final Agreement.
 
In the diagram below, each box represents 100 cubic decametres. 
 
Kitsumkalum Water Reservation is for 50,000 cubic decametres per year, which is more than 500 times the amount we use each year.
 
Water for our Communities
It is important to know that water for our community today comes from an existing water licence and will not be taken away from the Kitsumkalum Water Reservation. Our community currently uses a well for our water and stream that flows off Kitsumkalum Mountian is our back-up supply. This will not change because of Treaty.
The stream on Kitsumkalum Mountain is within a Community Watershed, which is established by the province. This ensures that the water quality is maintained. The Community Watershed will remain in place once the Final Agreement is in effect.
If Kitsumkalum wants to start a new community, for example somewhere on Kitsumkalum Lake, our government can negotiate with BC to establish a Community Watershed area that will suply water to this new community.
Water Planning
Once the Final Agreement is in effect, we will participate in water management in the Kitsumkalum Area. Our government will work with BC and Canada on flood response, protecting water quality, and managing groundwater. This work will include monitoring water quality, setting objectives for water management, and determining which watersheds need to be managed.
 
 Our government will have the authority to make laws related to the Kitsumkalum Water Reservation, such as a Kitsumkalum Water Act.
The Kitsumkalum Water Act will establish procedures, standards, and who is responsible for assessing an application for a water licence from our water reservation and whether it should be accepted or denied.
 

Roles and Responsiblities of Government Officials
Under the Indian Act, band councils make decisions based on internal policy or on a case by case basis. Policies can be changed or ignored, and decisions can be inconsistent with past or future councils.
After Treaty is finalized, a First nations admisinistration makes decisions based on laws made by the First Nations legislature. This ensures consistency in administration and governace. Laws can be changed, but only through a public process that will be defined in the First Nations' Constitution.
 
Administration and Policy
Our administration will administer the Kitsumkalum Water Act. To do this effectively, our government will need to develop policies based on the Water Act to guide administration staff. These policies would outline what the staff should consider when reviewing an application for a water licence to be issued from the Kitsumkalum Water Reservation (Step 3 in the diagram below).