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Only top-level descriptions British Columbia. Water Rights Branch
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Improvement district letters patent and bylaw register files

  • GR-3978
  • Series
  • 1922 - 2011

The series consists of improvement district letters patent and bylaw register files, 1922-2011. These records document the creation and dissolution of improvement districts, the approval and registration of their bylaws, and provincial government advice and support. Letters patent are the legal instruments for incorporating improvement districts in BC. They establish the name, boundary, services, voting procedures, and other fundamental aspects of each improvement district. Supplementary letters patent cover changes to improvement district boundaries, services, or the number of trustees. Improvement districts were initially created under the Water Act (SBC 1914, c. 81) to provide water and irrigation services to their residents. From 1914 to 1979, administrative responsibility for most improvement districts resided with the Office of the Comptroller of Water Rights (Water Rights Branch). In 1956, responsibility for improvement districts that provided fire protection came under the Dept. of Municipal Affairs, 1934-1976. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1986) assumed administrative responsibility for all improvement districts in 1979 with the enactment of the Municipal Act (RSBC 1979, c. 290). This administrative responsibility continues under the Local Government Act (RSBC 2015, c. 1) with the following ministries: Municipal Affairs and Transit, 1986; Municipal Affairs, 1986-1988; Municipal Affairs, Recreation, and Culture, 1988-1991; Municipal Affairs, Recreation, and Housing, 1991-1993; Municipal Affairs, 1993-1996; Municipal Affairs and Housing,1996-1998; Municipal Affairs, 1998-2001; Community, Aboriginal, and Women’s Services, 2001-2005; Community Services, 2005-2008; and Community Development, 2008-2009. Regional districts, introduced in 1965, provide many of the services once provided by improvement districts so new improvement districts will not likely be created. All improvement district bylaws are filed with the ministry and some require registration with the Inspector of Municipalities before taking effect. Others do not require registration, taking effect upon adoption by the trustees of the improvement district.

The records include correspondence, indexes, letters patent and supplementary letters patent, orders in council, approval certificates, and maps. They are arranged alphabetically by improvement district name; some of the records also contain an improvement district number and code. The records were classified under 52000-40 (improvement district letters patent files) of the Local Government Services ORCS, 2006 (schedule 126379).

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

File disposition list

  • GR-1225
  • Series
  • 1982

The series consists of a photocopied file list of "O" series (O files) correspondence files, showing disposition of files. It was created by the Surveys and Land Records Branch in 1982 from a computer print-out.

It includes references indicating the following:(1) files still active with the Survey and Land Records Branch (2) files microfilmed (3) files in the Provincial Archives (4) files sent to a Regional Office of the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing (5) Ministry of Forests files, partially renumbered to Forests filing system (6) Water Management Branch administration files and water rights applications (7) Parks Branch files renumbered to Parks Branch filing system (8) old Coal and Natural Gas files.

British Columbia. Surveys and Land Records Branch

Water rights photographs

  • GR-3276
  • Series
  • [ca. 1915-1982]

Series consists of photographs taken, acquired or annotated by the Water Rights Branch ca. 1915-1982. The photographs in this series were taken or acquired by staff of the Water Rights Branch in British Columbia to document their activities. These activities included water and snow surveys, which anticipated the amount of run off expected in spring that could be used for power, irrigation and domestic supply; water resources surveys which investigated future sites that could be used to increase power; documentation and inspection of water ways, power plants, reservoirs and dams; inspections of irrigation systems including both dyking and drainage; and evidence of flood control and water damage. The majority of the photographs consist of black and white negatives and many of their corresponding prints. They are arranged numerically by a photo file number. They have been indexed by area and subject using a card file system (see related series). In addition there are panoramic photographs, large negatives and glass plate negatives, filed separately because of their size. Most of these records are also indexed by the same card file system. The series also includes several albums and miscellaneous prints and negatives, both loose and in rolls, as well as a 16mm film reel and a number of lists, indexes and other miscellaneous accompanying material.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Record of maps relating to water rights and water licenses

  • GR-1989
  • Series
  • 1910-1981

Record of maps relating to water rights and water licenses. Includes date, water district, description of map format, origin of map and disposition, subject and geographical remarks, and file references. Arranged chronologically.

British Columbia. Water Management Branch

Correspondence index

  • GR-1024
  • Series
  • 1918-1981

Series consists of subject index cards to W files and O series correspondence relating to water rights and water resources development. Includes file references to irrigation districts, dams, rivers and streams, improvement districts, water users' committees, dyking districts, fire protection districts, flood control, and drainage.

British Columbia. Surveys and Land Records Branch

Correspondence index to lands files

  • GR-0993
  • Series
  • 1980

The series consists of indexes to correspondence files relating to the administration of Crown lands and natural resources. The records were created in 1980 from a computer print-out of various departmental indexes and includes references to files created by various branches of the Dept. of Lands and Works (1872-1908), the Dept. of Lands (1908-1945), the Dept. of Lands and Forests (1945-1962), the Dept. of Lands, Forest and Water Resources (1962-1975) and the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing. It provides access to active, microfilmed and obsolete O series files and pre-1918 files.

The records consist of one subject index and two lists which can be used to identify and locate Lands Correspondence files. They are not comprehensive, as they do not cover all the correspondence files created between 1871 and 1986.

The index and lists may be used to locate a file number for a subject area of interest, or to determine the subject of a file when only the number of the file is known.

Note that a listing in these documents does not necessarily mean that the file is held at the BC Archives. Many active files remain with the Crown Land Registry.

British Columbia. Surveys and Land Records Branch

Lower Mainland water rights correspondence

  • GR-0953
  • Series
  • 1958-1980

This series consists of correspondence files relating to water management, water utilities, and water rights applications. Includes correspondence with Dewdney-Alouette Regional District, 1972-1978, and Minutes Of Dewdney-Alouette Technical Planning Committee, File 4987; Sunshine Coast Regional District, 1967-1978, File 3787; and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, 1969-1976, regarding water supply.

British Columbia. Ministry of the Environment

Water Rights Branch records

  • GR-1006
  • Series
  • 1889-1979

This series contains records from the Water Rights Branch. Types of records include correspondence, memoranda, reports, articles, speeches, miscellaneous papers and notes, legal opinions, memoranda of agreement, regulations, etc. relating to water rights, the evolution of water resource administration, and the history of the Water Rights Branch. Includes drafts and notes for a history of the branch prepared in 1979; various reports re irrigation; Indian Reserve water rights, the Railway Belt, and hydro-electric power. Printed material transferred to the Library Division.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water rights reference maps

  • CM/S3
  • Series
  • 1927-1978 (predominant 1952 - 1978)

The series consists of maps and plans created by the Water Rights Branch between 1927 and 1978. The records provided the Water Rights Branch with a medium- to- large scale overview of its administrative areas, displaying both water rights information and detailed land status information produced by other natural resource agencies in government.

The series consists of standard reference base maps (maps produced by the Department of Lands and successors in order to document the current status of Crown Lands title) upon which has been added a broad array of specific water rights administrative information. The base and added map information includes administrative boundaries: most notably, those of water districts and precincts, but also those of waterworks, recreation, and improvement districts, and of ecological, water, and other reserves. Depicted as well are flood areas (often with flooding contours), river improvement areas, and various forest, mine works, and other areas. In addition to the base cadastral information (such as surveyed lot boundaries and numbers) the maps also display conditional and final water licence numbers, correspondence file numbers, approval numbers, and numbers identifying gazette notices and orders- in- council. Finally, the reference maps contain numerous references to other map and plan sheets. Related sheets of particular interest include those in the first and second series of the Water Rights Maps (CM/B1575 and CM/S4) and those in the Water Rights Plans Series (CM/S5- S7). Arrangement: The maps are arranged according to the National Topographic Series (NTS) map indexing system. A basic NTS map index, annotated to depict the coverage of the series, is provided at the end of the accompanying series list. A more detailed NTS index is on display in the BC ARCHIVES Map Reference area.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Proceedings at public hearings under the Water Act

  • GR-0563
  • Series
  • 1976

This series contains 28 volumes of proceedings at public hearings under the Water Act Into an application by British Columbia Hydro (BC Hydro) for a water licence to divert, use and store water out of the Columbia River at a point about 3 miles upstream from Revelstoke, B.C., near the lower end of the Little Dalles Canyon.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Correspondence

  • GR-1010
  • Series
  • 1974

This series contains correspondence files relating to water rights and water resources administration.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water Rights records

  • GR-1017
  • Series
  • 1858-1974

Registers of water record and water licence grants and applications; index of water reserves, 1908-1929; list of localities operating hydro-electric plants, 1918; alphabetical index of creek surveys, 1910-1911, measuring stream flows.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water utilities annual reports

  • GR-3479
  • Series
  • 1938-1973

The series consists of copies of utilities files created after the implementation of the Public Utilities Act (S.B.C. 1938, c. 47). The files date from 1938-1989 and document the regulation of water utilities throughout the province. The records from 1938 to 1973 were created by the Public Utilities Commission. In 1973, the responsibility for water utilities was transferred to the Office of the Comptroller of Water Rights in accordance with the Water Utility Act (S.B.C. 1973, c. 91).

The records are arranged alphabetically in two groups that coincide with whether the water utility was private or public. Most files also have an assigned numeric number. Between 1938 and 1973 the file number consists of “U-“ followed by a sequential number that coincides with order that the utility was regulated. All files were renumbered in 1974 with a new number that begins with “0321” followed by a three digit number.

The files contain copies of orders-in- council and orders of the Comptroller of Water Rights establishing, amending the original application, or deregistering water utilities. There are also annual reports, financial statements, water utility reports and names of water utility directors.

British Columbia. Public Utilities Commission

Correspondence regarding water utilities

  • GR-3482
  • Series
  • 1938-1973

This series consists of correspondence pertaining to the regulation of water utilities in the Province. The files date from 1929-1990. The records from 1938 to 1973 were created by the Public Utilities Commission under authority of the Public Utilities Act (S.B.C. 1938, c. 47). In 1973, the responsibility for water utilities was transferred to the Office of the Comptroller of Water Rights following the passage of the Water Utility Act (S.B.C. 1973, c. 91).

The records in this series were originally arranged by a number assigned to each utility file. Between 1938 and 1973 the file number consisted of “U-“ followed by a sequential number that coincided with the order that the utility was regulated. The ministry established a new numbering system in 1974 that begins with “0321” followed by a three digit number. This numbering system was applied to most of the files although many of the documents in the files still have the original file number written on the documents.

The files consist primarily of correspondence, memos, and handwritten notes. There are also copies of numerous forms including certificates of public convenience and necessity, water tariff rates, and applications for water licences. Files also contain copies of documents from corporate registry files, including lists of directors and Company Act annual reports, and Land Titles documents including deeds and plans.

British Columbia. Public Utilities Commission

Public Utilities Commission records with regard to Vancouver Island natural gas 1972

  • GR-0828
  • Series
  • 1972

This series consists of records of the Public Utilities Commission, 1972. Records include proceedings at hearings pursuant to the Public Utilities Act in the matter of the application of British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, Centennial Natural Gas Pipeline, Georgia Gulf Transmission, Malaspina Gas Pipeline, for the construction and operation of a pipeline or system to serve Powell River and Vancouver Island with natural gas.

British Columbia. Public Utilities Commission

Water Rights Branch operational records

  • GR-0884
  • Series
  • 1901-1967

This series consists of records of the Water Rights Branch. Records include government publications, reports, memoranda, correspondence, statutes, regulations, indexes and maps pertaining to water rights, irrigation projects, water reserves, and water power developments, 1901-1967. Includes unpublished reports on the history of irrigation, water power resources policy, public utility regulation, and the Water Rights Branch, the Water Board, and the BC Conservation Fund.

Box 1-2 contain general files.

Box 3 contains the Provincial Water Power Index, ca. 1925-1933. Files are arranged alphabetically by Water District, with Water Rights Branch index numbers, Commission of Conservation index numbers, and Dominion Lands Branch index numbers. Also includes Water District maps showing locations of power site developments, water reserves, applications, and horsepower outputs.

Box 4 contains the Water Reserves Notices Index, 1901-1963. Files are arranged alphabetically by Water District, redone and rechecked February 13, 1963.

Box 5 contains Acts and regulations.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Nelson water district records

  • GR-3587
  • Series
  • 1897-1966

The series consists of water grant registers and water licence registers. The records were created between 1897 and 1966 to record applications to use water. All records relate to the West Kootenay water region.

The series contains two subseries. The first subseries consists of water registers that were created between 1897 and 1908 following the passage of the 1897 Water Clauses Consolidation Act (SBC 1897, c. 45). This act assigned responsibility to gold commissioners to record water applications and licences and also outlined the process by which gold commissioners were to maintain a “book of record of water rights.”

This subseries contains four “record of water grants” volumes from 1897 to 1908 that were created by the gold commissioners from Nelson, Rossland and Kaslo. The commissioners used these books to create a certified copy of the licence for the applicant as well as to create an official government copy. There is also an 1897-1908 register that indexes the first two registers. Many of the register entries have written notations that list the date that a licence was cancelled.

The second subseries consists of water licence application registers created by the Nelson office of the Water Rights Branch. The 1909 Water Act (SBC 1909, c. 48) transferred the responsibility for the management of water licences to regional water commissioners. The post 1908 registers were created by the Nelson Water Commissioner and provide a list of approved water licences. The records are arranged chronologically and each application was assigned a sequential number.

British Columbia. Gold Commissioner (Nelson)

Surveyor's notebooks

  • GR-3719
  • Series
  • 1910-1963

The series consists primarily of small, hard-cover notebooks used for recording data in the field during hydrographic survey projects. It also consists of envelopes containing various textual and cartographic records. The purpose of the records was to document information recorded by Water Management Branch field surveyors when they completed hydrographic surveys. Information was used as reference material in preparation of topographical maps. Also recorded was information relating to projects completed by the Water Branch (such as irrigation projects). Also recorded was information of the time regarding claims and claimants to water rights. The records may have a high degree of long-range research value.

Many of the field books contain data for so many different geographic locations, it was impossible to list or reflect each location in the file titles.

Relevant information is to be found in many Dept. of Lands, Water Rights Branch annual reports, where the background and execution of the hydrographic surveys around the province are discussed. See for example the Sessional Papers of British Columbia, Session 1913, pgs. D 107 to D 222.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Index of water resources recordings

  • GR-0779
  • Series
  • 1911-1962

This series consists of an index of water resources recordings from the Water Rights Branch, 1911-1962. Contains graphic representation of water discharge by drainage basin.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Moose River water rights photographs

  • GR-3277
  • Series
  • [ca. 1945-1962]

Series consists of photographs taken or acquired by the Water Rights Branch ca. 1945-1962. The photographs in this series are of Moose River which flows SE into the head of the Fraser River just above Moose Lake, in Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. The photographs show the upper falls, the banks below the forks, the middle Resplendent flats and damsite.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Records of the Board of Investigation relating to water rights

  • GR-0853
  • Series
  • ca. 1913-1961

This series contains records of the Board of Investigation relating to water rights. Includes files no. 101-426 (Cariboo Gold Mining Co.) and 241-11-17 (Lightning Creek Gold, Gravels and Drainage Company Limited).

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch. Board of Investigation

Records of the district engineer, Kelowna District, relating to irrigation and reclamation

  • GR-1385
  • Series
  • 1936-1960

This series contains records of the district engineer, Kelowna District, relating to irrigation and reclamation. Records include:
(1) Index of Water Resources Records obtained at regular and miscellaneous gauging stations in British Columbia, 2 volumes, to September 1956, prepared by the Dominion Water and Power Bureau (1936-1959) and Canada Water Resources Branch, 1956.
(2) Data on irrigation districts, Kelowna District Office, 22 April 1958.
(3) Proceedings of the Reclamation Committee, B.C. Dept. of Agriculture, Brief Nos. 1-38 (1953-1960).
(4) Irrigation Districts and Inventories, 2 vols., synopsis on data on irrigation districts, 1938-1950.
(5) Report on appraisal of property and investigation of operations of Okanagan Centre Irrigation and Power Company Ltd., by the B.C. Public Utilities Commission, 22 June 1944.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Index to water rights photographs

  • GR-3275
  • Series
  • [ca. 1928-1959]

Series consists of a card file system created by the Water Rights Branch ca. 1928-1959. The card files index photographs taken or collected by the branch during this period, which relate to activity regarding water issues in British Columbia. The series consists of two alphabetical sorts of card files; the first is arranged alphabetically by area. Information on each card lists the photographs indexed under that area, with the photo file number, title or description of the photograph and sometimes the date. Occasionally a negative or glass plate negative number is listed as well. The second sort is arranged alphabetically by subject. The information on each card lists the photographs indexed under that subject, with the photo file number, title or description of the photograph and sometimes the date. There are occasional references to negative or folio numbers. There is also a subset of numbers, L01 to L16, filed after the subject snow surveys which include 23 black and white photographs interfiled with the index cards. The photographic records indexed by this card file system consist of both prints and negatives.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Petitions

  • GR-1007
  • Series
  • 1955

This series contains petitions from land owners in Lillooet regarding the Lillooet Hospital Improvement District for incorporation under the Water Act [R.S.B.C., 1948, c.361, s.50], for the purpose of planning, constructing and operating a hospital. For additional correspondence, see files 0221083 and 0208807.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Minutes of a public hearing

  • GR-1009
  • Series
  • 1955

Series contains the minutes of a public hearing on the application of the Northwest Power Industries, Ltd. for a water licence to authorize the diversion, use and storage of water from Atlin Lake and tributaries, held in Atlin, B.C., on August 16, 1955.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Permits and authorizations

  • GR-1018
  • Series
  • 1912-1955

Contains permits and authorizations to make surveys necessary for the planning and construction of water works pursuant to the Water Act, 1909 and the Water Act, 1914. Arranged numerically. Includes permit number, name of applicant, description of proposed works, fees, and file references. vol. 1, no. 1-250, 1912-1913; vol. 2, no. 251-500, 1913-1914; vol. 3, no. 501-1000, 1914-1930; vol. 4, no. 1001-1075, 1930-1955.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Report

  • GR-1289
  • Series
  • 1922-1954

This series contains copies of Hydro-electric progress reports in Canada, issued by Canada, Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources, Water Resources Division and its predecessor agencies. This mimeographed progress report highlights projects under development in British Columbia and the other provinces.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Working papers and other material

  • GR-1284
  • Series
  • 1951-1954

This series contains working papers, drafts and photographs, 1951-1954, used in the preparation of the illustrated "Water Powers, British Columbia, Canada", 1954 edition which was published by the Department of Lands and Forests, Water Rights Branch, Victoria.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Records relating to water works and water power projects

  • GR-1236
  • Series
  • 1915-1953

This series contains records relating to water works and water power projects. The records consist of International Joint Committee hearings, proceedings before the Comptroller of Water Rights, hearings on the Buttle Lake project before a special committee of the B.C. Legislative Assembly, applications, submissions and briefs, engineering data, technical reports, and specifications. Includes materials pertaining to the Kootenay River reclamation projects of the West Kootenay Power and Light Company, 1929-1950; the Columbia River reclamation project at Golden and Windermere, 1913-1915; the Powell River Company's project at Lois River, 1930; the B.C. Electric Railway Company development at Jordan River, 1929; the Burrard Power Company projects at Stave River and Alouette Lake, 1924; the B.C. Power Commission development of Buttle Lake on Vancouver Island, 1951-1953; and miscellaneous other projects.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

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