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British Columbia. Water Rights Branch
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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

Register of appurtenancy, Princeton Water District

  • GR-3490
  • Series
  • [ca. 1889-1928]

Series consists of a register of water rights appurtenant for the Princeton Water District. The register was used to compile a list of water licences and rights assigned to individuals and properties. The register entries cover the years 1889 to 1928 but many of those entries were entered retroactively.

The register includes the following data fields:

Water rights map number
Parcel number
File and priority
Licence
Stream, Reservoir and Intakes
Diversion storage or carriage
Beginning, resuming and completing works
Purpose other than irrigation with quantity
Plans approved
Remarks.

There is an index at the front of the volume that is arranged by lot number.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

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

Orders-in-council relating to water works and water power projects

  • GR-0839
  • Series
  • 1892-1913

This series consists of an index and list of orders-in-council relating to water works and water power projects pursuant to the Rivers and Streams Act, 1890, the Water Clauses Consolidation Act, 1897, and the Water Act, 1909. Includes alphabetical index of companies and cities granted certificates of approval and chronological lists.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water rights plans

  • CM/S5-7
  • Series
  • 1892-1981

Introduction: Throughout its existence, the Water Rights Branch (WRB) acquired and created a large central set of plans, maps, and engineering drawings which was assigned a single set of sequential water rights plan numbers. Over time, the original plan series was divided into separate sub- series for the use of particular operational units. The topics documented in the series and in each sub- series are discussed in the scope and contents notes below. The plans are listed in plan number and water rights district order in the series list which follows this overview. The structure and contents of this list are explained in the arrangement section below. Scope and Content: The water rights plans series documents a broad range of WRB activities. It includes: plans and engineering drawings submitted to the WRB by individuals, corporations, and municipalities as part of their applications for water licences or for approval of works; survey plans and maps prepared by WRB field engineers and regional engineers in support of licensing activities, irrigation studies, water power investigations and dam inspections; general reference maps used by WRB staff; and a variety of charts, graphs, and other items used for WRB functions such as stream measurement and precipitation monitoring. Taken as a whole, this series constitutes a wealth of often highly detailed cartographic information on regions and communities throughout British Columbia- - information which in many cases is not available elsewhere. Of particular interest are early large- scale maps and plans which provide extensive topographic information and vegetation notes for many areas of B.C. well before those areas were covered by standard topographic maps, including areas which were later flooded due to dam construction. As well, some of the early plans of towns and of agricultural, commercial, and industrial sites include such detailed cultural and cadastral information as the location and identity of buildings and the names of property owners affected by proposed water projects. And of course, the series contains invaluable documentation of specific major hydro- electric, irrigation, and waterworks projects in the form of site plans and engineering (structural) drawings. The series' value is enhanced by the fact that many of the items contain numbers which can be used to link the items with related records such as water records, conditional and final licences; correspondence files, water rights and reference maps, field notes, and a variety of reports. The water rights plans received by BC ARCHIVES consist of three main sub- series that have been separated from the plans held at the Water Management Branch. To a large extent the topics and document types described above are found in all of the sub- series but each sub- series does exhibit certain characteristics which reflect its provenance. Arrangement: Although the Water Rights Plans consist of three distinct sub- series, a single comprehensive list of the items has been compiled for the convenience of researchers. In part one of this series list, the item descriptions are arranged sequentially according to the water rights plan numbers. In part two, the list is sorted geographically, according to the water rights districts in existence at the time the various items were filed. Researchers should note that the BC ARCHIVES series list is based primarily on the original Water Rights Branch plan registers (see BC ARCHIVES reel B1949 for a microfilm copy) rather than on the items themselves. The dates given in the list are the dates of filing and the descriptions presented are close (but not exact) transcriptions of the descriptions in the registers. The registers also often contain information not transcribed into in the BC ARCHIVES list such as the plan origins, creator names, material types, and numbers identifying related records. The creator names, in particular, can sometimes be used to link the plans with other records produced by the same creator such as the early regional engineers' reports published in the annual reports of the WRB. Since the water rights plan numbers were assigned sequentially, part one of the BC ARCHIVES series list is in chronological order. However, a single plan number often covers numerous individual items and the date of the items themselves sometimes does not match the date of filing. Similarly, the descriptions usually refer to the items originally filed under a given plan number. In some cases not all of the items pertaining to a number were transferred to BC ARCHIVES and in a few cases it appears that the original items filed under a given number were replaced by later plans pertaining to the same general topic. Therefore, while the list usually provides researchers with a strong indication of the types of items found under a plan number, it is necessary to consult the items themselves, using the call numbers provided in the list, in order to determine the precise nature of their contents. The items are physically arranged in call number order within each of the sub- series. Separate lists of each sub- series can be made available, but the sub- series origin of any particular item in the main list can be readily determined by consulting the item's call number against the chart at the beginning of the list.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

Registers of the Board of Investigation

  • GR-1165
  • Series
  • 1896-1918

This series contains registers of the Board of Investigation, pursuant to the Water Act (3 vols.) Volume 1 is a register of land, water, mining, power and light, and lumber companies incorporated from 1896-1914. The registers are arranged alphabetically by company name and shows date of incorporation, capital, registered address, and file references. They include miscellaneous file references dated 1918. Volume 2 is a register of water claims in the Alberni district from 1905 to 1908, with Board of Investigation file references. Volume 3 is an alphabetical list of companies with water rights claims that are undated.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

Records of the Government office in Fairview, B.C.

  • GR-1675
  • Series
  • 1897-1922

This series contains water notices for a licence to take and use water, Similkameen district, 4 vols. Records of the government office in Fairview. B.C. Related to GR-0214 and GR-1674.

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)

Omineca District water rights records

  • GR-0843
  • Series
  • 1898-1905; 1909-1917

This series consists of three volumes of records of the Water Commissioner, Omineca District, relating to water rights. Volume 1 is a record of Water Grants pursuant to the Water Clauses Consolidation Act (1897), 1898-1905, including determinations by the Board of Investigation, 1917. Volume 2 is a record of Water Grant pursuant to the Water Clauses Consolidation Act (1897), 1909-1917, including determinations by the Board of Investigation, 1917. Volume 3 is Water Record Book No. 1, from 24 June 1898, recorded at the Gold Commissioner's office, Omineca District, including correspondence relating to water rights claims, 1915 and 1917.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

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

Water rights records

  • GR-0835
  • Series
  • 1902-1925

This series consists of letters inward to the Chief Commissioner of Lands, the Deputy Commissioner of Lands and the Minister of Lands regarding water rights generally, 1902-1912. These letters were transferred to Water Rights Branch files from Lands files and do not appear on the microfilm of Lands letters inward. Letters are arranged chronologically.

The series also includes a page regarding the disposition of Indian water rights by Board of Investigation from 1921-1925.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water recorder files

  • GR-3493
  • Series
  • 1905-1955

Series consists of water records created by water recorders at the Alberni Water District and Golden Water District. The water recorders were usually a Government Agent so some of the records have been stamped by the Government Agent stamp.

Records include copies of cancelled final and conditional licences from the Alberni District and water notices that provide information about water applications.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water notices and other material

  • GR-1377
  • Series
  • 1909-1914

This series contains water licences issued for Victoria Water District, 1909-1912, by W.S. Drewry, Chief Water Commissioner, pursuant to the Water Act, 1909. The records include water notices and approval of plans. This volume was also used by the Board of Investigation to make water rights determinations, ca. 1913-1914.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water licence register

  • GR-1766
  • Series
  • 1909-1955

Water licence register, ca. 1909-1955, arranged by final licence number, 1-15922. The register shows status, conditional licence number, final licence number, priority, file number, name, stream, WR map number, purpose, quantity, dominant land, district.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Records regarding the construction of Coquitlam Dam

  • GR-3964
  • Series
  • 1909-1916

This series consists of records related to the construction of a new dam at Coquitlam Lake Dam by Vancouver Power Co. Ltd., 1909-1916. Records cover the study and survey of Coquitlam Lake, and attaining approvals for plans, construction, and water use for producing electricity and as a municipal water supply. Records include correspondence, engineering reports and environmental reports.

At the time of construction, Coquitlam Lake was part of the Railway Belt and under the jurisdiction of the dominion government. All records are copies from Canadian Department of the Interior file 656216 nos. 3, 4, 5. The metal pin holding the file together was removed for conservation purposes and the records placed in archival folders. The copied file was likely provided to the Provincial Water Rights Branch for reference around the end of the file in 1913. There are also several loose pages of original records from the BC Comptroller of Water Rights, labelled with file number 8987 dating from 1913 to 1916.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water Rights Board files

  • GR-1442
  • Series
  • 1909-1935

This series includes records of the Water Rights Board.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

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

Chief Hydrographer correspondence

  • GR-0836
  • Series
  • 1911-1912

This series consists of letterbook copies of correspondence outward from the Chief Hydrographer regarding water surveys, irrigation projects, dams, etc. Includes nominal index.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Irrigation report

  • GR-0368
  • Series
  • 1911

"Report on irrigation conditions of British Columbia and recommendations for the initiation of government work on irrigation investigations," by Prof. B.A. Etcheverry, commissioned by the Dept. of Lands.

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

Water rights maps : first series

  • CM/B1575
  • Series
  • 1911-1924

Maps prepared pursuant to the Water Act Amendment Act, 1913. Shows location of water rights and licenses. Includes tabulation sheets relating to decisions of the Board of Investigation. Maps also show property boundaries.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Records relating to water projects

  • GR-1131
  • Series
  • 1911

Series contains lists relating to water projects. List of Certificates of Approval for water works, diversions, dams, spillways, etc. issued between 1898 and 1911; includes grantee, date of approval, purpose and nature of grant. List of power, light and water companies, registered or licenced in the province of British Columbia, including those under statute, those with grants of water rights, and those with Certificates of Approval pursuant to the Water Clauses Consolidation Act (1897) and the Water Act (1909).

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Barkerville and Fort George water rights records

  • GR-1080
  • Series
  • 1911-1923

This series contains records of the Water Recorders and Government Agents of Barkerville and Fort George relating to water licences. Includes correspondence, licence certificates and plans of licences issued to the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and the Fort George Citizens Water Company.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Board of Investigation records

  • GR-1367
  • Series
  • 1911

This series contains a record of the Board of Investigation list of streams upon which water records have been issued in the Kamloops Water District by E.T.W. Pearse, Water Commissioner, Kamloops, B.C., May 5th, 1911. The series includes an index to water rights transfers in Kamloops, no date.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water rights conditional licence registers

  • GR-1765
  • Series
  • 1912-1955

Conditional licence registers: vol. 1, CLs 1-5250, 1912-ca. 1924; vol. 2, CLs 5251-15259, ca. 1924- ca. 1941; vol. 3, CLs 15260-22538, ca. 1941-1955. The data is arranged by CL no., which is roughly chronological. The registers show status, conditional licence number, date works completed, fixed licence number, priority date, file number, name of applicant, streams, W. R. map numbers purpose, quantity, dominant land, district, P/C works filed. Vol. 1 also contains data arranged by authorization number 1-1075.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Water rights registers of correspondence inward

  • GR-3082
  • Series
  • 1912-1953

This series contains a nominal index of incoming letters relating to water rights management. Use in conjunction with GR-1088, GR-1440, GR-1441, GR-1443.

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

Water Rights Branch files

  • GR-1443
  • Series
  • 1912-1953

This series contains files mainly pertaining to water licenses and fishways. Files are numbered from 38W through to 45251W. The front of each file folder is filmed giving the file number ["W" indicates a water rights file], the geographical district, the name of the applicant, name of the stream, file numbers of related files, licence number, date of the application and names indexed [GR-3082]. The files contain various forms related to applying for a water licence, correspondence, maps, notices, proof of completion, cancellation, etc.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Determinations and Orders

  • GR-1020
  • Series
  • 1913-1933

This series consists of Determinations and Orders for the cancellation of water records by the Board of Investigation under the Water Act, 1914, nos. 2501-5000 (vol. 1) and nos. 7504-8103 (vol. 2). Information on the orders include water district, date of order, date of original grant, name of grantee, and Board file number reference.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Records relating to draft bill

  • GR-1130
  • Series
  • 1913

This series contains records relating to draft bill, an Act respecting Public Irrigation Corporations. Includes draft of bill with index and column notations and a memorandum entitled "Report on a public irrigation corporation bill, accompanying and explaining the revised draft by H.W. Grunsky of the Water Rights Branch together with letters on the same subject by Dr. S. Forties and F. Adams of the Irrigation Investigation Branch of the United States Department of Agriculture," submitted to the Minister of Lands.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

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