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Archival description
Series Water resource development--British Columbia
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Water rights plans

  • CM/S5-7
  • Series
  • 1892-1981

The series consists of records created by the Water Rights Branch, its predecessor, the Dept. of Lands and Works and its successor, the Water Management Branch. 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 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. The series also 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.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Miscellaneous water investigation records

  • GR-3485
  • Series
  • 1950-1973

Series consist of miscellaneous files created or collected by the Water Investigations Branch. This series is a collection of miscellaneous records transferred to the archives. The records include images created during surveys, aerial survey images, technical slides used in presentations, and correspondence with the Archaeological Sites Advisory Board.

The series includes the following material:

  1. 247 slides taken during a 1950 tour of the interior of the province. Each slide has a label that lists the location where the image was taken and in some cases also the subject of the photo.
  2. 56 slides of an August 1957 trip by J.F. Glen. These include I mages of unidentified locations.
  3. A box of 16 unlabelled and unidentified slides that were stored next to the J.F. Glen slides.
  4. 68 technical slides that were used in presentations by T.A.J. Leach, the head of the Hydraulic Investigations Division and Water Investigations Branch. These images consist primarily of maps and sketches of areas in the province. An item list is available for these slides.
  5. Aerial Survey negatives of what appears to be the Lower Mainland. These negatives are numbered in the range 65254 to 65989.
  6. A file of records dating from 1963-1973 on archaeological interests. This consists of correspondence between the Water Investigations Branch and the Archaeological Sites Advisory Board about various projects in Lumby, Squamish and Cowichan River area.

It is possible that some of the images were initially created by the Fraser River Board and its predecessor Joint Dominion-Provincial Board of the Fraser River Basin. The Water Investigations Branch and its predecessor, Hydraulic Investigations Division, worked closely with these boards. The majority of the records consist of slides or negatives as well as one textual record file.

British Columbia. Water Investigations Branch

Records from the Office of the Comptroller of Water Rights

  • GR-3860
  • Series
  • 1990-1997

The records in this series originate from the office of Jack E. Farrell who acted as Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights, Director of the Water Resources Branch and Comptroller of Water Rights over the course of his career. The records relate to the activities done and responsibilities held as a member of the executive in the branch. These include regular correspondence with BC Hydro regarding programs and news releases, as well as files dedicated to legislation projects, committees related to safety, monitoring, and water studies, and annual reports from the Branch detailing current issues, projects, investigations and accomplishments. Committee records include both inter-provincial and international management of water resources along BC borders.

A number of files also describe the organizational structure of the Branch which appears to have gone through a major restructuring in 1995/1996 when the Water management Division/Water Rights Branch became the Water Resources Branch. The Branch was to administer the Water Act, Water Utility Act and the Utilities Commission Act (including licensing of major power projects). They were also responsible for the safety of dams and dykes, regulation of privately owned water utilities, protection from flooding and the collection of water license fees, with other past responsibilities being distributed to other offices.

The records are arranged by ARCs number and then alphabetically. The following primary and secondary numbers from the Administrative Records Classification System are included in the series:
102-20 : ministry meetings
105-02 : ministry organization
105-20 : branch, region and district organization and responsibilities
105-30 : organization/reorganization projects
204-20 : inter-ministerial committees
205-20 : international committees
206-20 : inter-provincial/federal committees
280-20 : executive briefing notes
280-40 : executive issues
350-20 : legal issues
400-20 : program planning files
442-20 : annual reports

British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks

Water use planning records

  • GR-3879
  • Series
  • 1998-2005

The records in this series relate to Water Use Plans in British Columbia.
In 1998 the province formally initiated a Water Use Planning (WUP) program. WUP is a cooperative effort involving BC Hydro, the provincial government, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and First Nations and other key interested parties. Guidelines were published describing steps required to complete and implement a water use plan. At each facility these plans attempt to define suitable operating parameters which balance environmental, social and economic values. The WUPs are intended to accommodate other water use interests through incremental changes in how existing water control facilities store and release water. WUP are not intended to be comprehensive watershed management plans to deal with water management issues associated with other activities in the watershed such as forestry and mining.

Each hydro facility had their own Consultative Committee of stakeholders, representing a range of interests. These committees held meetings with the aim to establish operating objectives for water use and management for the various water systems. Committee reports express their interests, values, and recommendations and document the consultative process. It is a supporting document meant to help inform and prepare BC Hydro’s Water Use Plan. This series contains both committee reports and the final version of BC Hydro’s Water Use Plans that were submitted to the Comptroller of Water Rights for review under the Water Act.
The reports include a system description (basins, rivers, dams, reservoirs etc.), methodology, hydro operation studies and results.

The series also contain BC Hydro data and interim orders from the Comptroller of Water Rights. Interim orders appear to be proposed operational changes to achieve flows which will provide incremental improvements for fish while the water use plan process was underway and assessment was still being made to determine what the most suitable or preferred flows for fish should ultimately be.

Finally, a few documents in the series deal with redevelopment plans to support BC Hydro water license applications in light of recommendations established in the Water Use Plans.

British Columbia. Ministry of Environment (2005-2017)

Aboriginal liaison and First Nations consultation case files for the Cariboo Region

  • GR-3902
  • Series
  • 1985-2008

This series consists of Aboriginal liaison and First Nations consultation case files, primarily for the Cariboo region, from 1985-2008. These records document the Ministry of Environment and its successors' resource management involvement with First Nations groups and consultation with respect to resource management plans. Each file documents consultation and communication with a particular First Nation, Tribal Council or other Indigenous group regarding a variety of issues and practices related to resource management and use. File may be related to land claims, land use planning, the creation of sustainable resource management plans (SRMPs) and sub-regional area plans, or specific resource management and land management issues, including forestry, water rights, wildlife management and hunting, mining, protection of parks and cultural sites, and the creation of roads.

The files in this series were titled and organized in most instances as case files, based on the name of the First Nation involved in the consultation process. Many files document the creation and finalization of various kinds of agreements between the Ministry and First Nations groups. Files also include the planning and execution of joint projects, workshops and meetings to consult First Nations about the creation of resource management plans or to address specific resource management issues.

Files may include correspondence, reports, memorandums of understanding, agreements, financial records, business records of the relevant indigenous group, consultation protocols, maps, and newspaper articles and government responses to them.

Most files regard a particular indigenous group, mostly from the Cariboo and surrounding region, including: 'Esdilagh (Alexandria Band), Alexis Creek, Tl'etinqox Government (Anaham), Llenlleney'ten (High Bar), Bonaparte, Tsq’escen (Canim Lake), Stswecem’c/Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek), Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council, Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council, Cariboo Tribal Council, Northern Secwēpemc te Qelmūcw (NStQ or Northern Shuswap Tribal Council), Esketemc (Alkali Lake), Hamatla Treaty Society, Homalco, Lhoosk’uz Dene (Kluskus), Lheidli-Tenneh, Nazko, Nuxalk Nation Government, Lhtako Dene (Red Bluff), Saik’uz, Skeetchestn, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Xat’sūll (Soda Creek), Simpcw (North Thompson Indian Band), Yunesit'in Government (Stone Indian Band), Tsilhqot’in National Government, Tl'esqox (Toosey First Nation), St'át'imc, Ts'kw'aylaxw, Ulkatcho Nation, Whispering Pines/Clinton, T'exelc (Williams Lake Indian Band), and Xeni Gwet’in First Nations. Other Indigenous groups may be mentioned within files.

Note that some of these files were reviewed as part of the following litigation: Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government v. Her Majesty the Queen et al.

Ministries responsible for the creation of this series, and their dates of the responsibility, are:
Ministry of Environment (1988-1991)
British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (1991-2001)
British Columbia. Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (2001-2005)
British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (2005-2010)

Records in this series are covered by ORCS 17020-20 and 17730-25 of the Resource Management ORCS (schedule 144100).

British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Approved resource management plans for the Cariboo region

  • GR-3903
  • Series
  • 1969-2006

This series consists of approved resource management plans (RMPs) primarily from the Cariboo and surrounding region, from 1969-2006. These records document the creation of the approved, published versions of the ministry’s various kinds of resource management plans and terms of reference.

Ad hoc RMPs are developed as necessary to fulfill unusual or unexpected planning needs. Files include issue specific plans for protected area strategies and road access plans. The majority of these files are lakes classification files which record the characteristics and uses of specific lakes.

Approved lake classification files may contain maps, photographs, aerial photographs, copies of fishing licenses, fish analysis, meeting minutes, reconnaissance surveys, reconnaissance lake inventories, and a brief report describing the size, shape, location, and uses of the lake. Most files list the uses of the lake and immediate area for timber, silviculture, range, engineering, fishing, recreation, commercial use, wildlife use, and First Nations use. Any commercial interests on the lakes such as traplines, guides or resorts may be listed. Files may also include correspondence regarding lake classification from government employees or interested third parties.

Ad hoc coordinated access management plans allow for the construction of roads and other infrastructure to increase access to wilderness areas. Files include letters from interested third parties impacted by the plan, alongside maps, reports, meeting records, and comments on draft plans by members of the public.

Sustainable resource management plans (SRMPs) cover a relatively small area (usually under 100,000 hectares), referred to as a landscape unit, and address the specific resource management issues in the area. This series includes records related to the 100 Mile House SRMP, including terms of reference and planning team documents used in drafting the plan.

Local resource use plans (LRUPs) were replaced by SRMPs between 1999 and 2003 and functioned similarly. The series includes LRUPs for several areas. Files may include planning team records, final approved plans, and a variety of other records which may document the creation of plans, the annual review of plans by community members and stakeholders, and the execution of the plan. Files address issues such as the construction of infrastructure, land management and various kinds of land use in the areas, particularly managing grazing land through the use of burning and fence construction.

The series includes two water use resource management plans, one for Clinton Creek and another for Michelle Creek near a Nazko Indian Reserve.

The series also includes a coastal RMP for Kyuquot Sound, a copy of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District regional growth management strategy, a regional land use plan (RLUP) for the Cariboo Chilcotin land use plan (CCLUP) and two higher level RMPs, one for the CCLUP and one for Kamloops.

It is unclear exactly which Ministries may have been responsible for the creation of these records before the 1990s. The likely Ministries responsible for the creation of this series, and their dates of the responsibility, are:
Ministry of Environment (1988-1991)
British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (1991-2001)
British Columbia. Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (2001-2005)
British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (2005-2010)

Records in this series are covered by ORCS 17430-02, 17610-02, 17610-60, 17730-03, 17730-60, 17670-02, 17790-02, 17520-02 and 17460-02 of the Resource Management ORCS (schedule 144100).

British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands

Thompson River Basin pre-planning study records

  • GR-3993
  • Series
  • 1975-1981

This series consists of reports, correspondence and other records related to the Thompson River Basin pre-planning study from 1975-1981. Most records were created or used by the Water Management Branch and Water Investigations Branch.

The records relate to a federal-provincial agreement to conduct a pre-planning study of water in the Thompson River Basin. The study was intended to describe the basin’s water resources, and identify existing and potential water resource problems related to water quality and quantity. The study was to begin looking at solutions to these problems and the value of a longer-term planning study. Records document the creation and implementation of the study which involved multiple ministries from both the provincial and federal governments. The study involved scientific studies and public consultation to gain an understanding of water management issues in the area, and their associated land use and economic activity.

Records include correspondence, draft studies, reports used as reference material, minutes, maps, photographs and newspaper clippings.

Records were selected for permanent retention under one time schedule number 890487.

British Columbia. Water Management Branch

Ministry of Environment executive records

  • GR-4189
  • Series
  • 1977-1991

This series consists of executive records created by the Ministry of Environment, and its successor, the Ministry of Environment and Parks, from 1978-1991.

The records relate to all functions of the Ministry of Environment. This includes, but is not limited to, the creation and management of Provincial Parks, such as Strathcona; mining in parks; hunting; trapping and traplines; guide outfitters; fishing; Indigenous hunting and land rights; wildlife management, including wolf control; game farming; fish farms and aquaculture; water rights and management; Ministry centralization and reorganization; the privatization of Ministry functions, including the Environmental Lab; conservation and habitat management; water rights and water licences; flood prevention and mitigation; the creation and management of dams and dykes; land use; pollution, including air, chemical, solid waste and sewage; waste management, including landfills and sewage systems; coal mining; pesticides and herbicides; conservation officers, including enforcement and prosecutions; the drafting of legislation and orders-in-council; flood claims, control and prevention; and surveys and mapping.

Records include correspondence from the public and within government, briefing notes, meeting minutes, minister's speeches, Cabinet submissions, Treasury Board submissions, reports, agreements, legislation, variance orders, brochures, agreements, policies, procedures, maps and photos.

The records were created by the following executive:

Charles Stephen Rogers, Minister, 1979-1983
Anthony Julius Brummett, Minister, 1983-1985
Forbes Charles Austin Pelton, Minister, 1985-1986
Charles Stephen Rogers, Minister, 1986-1987
William Bruce Stracham, Minister, 1987-1989

Earle D Anthony, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Regional Operations, 1979-1981
Earle D Anthony, ADM Environmental Management, 1982-1987
Earle D Anthony, ADM Programs, 1987-1988
Earle D Anthony, Acting DM, 1988
Richard L Dalon, Deputy Minister, 1988-[1990]
Ben E Marr, Deputy Minister, 1974-1987
Allan Murray, ADM Conservation, 1978-1979
Allan Murray, ADM Environmental Management, 1980-1982
Allan Murray, ADM Regional Operations, 1983-1985
GE Simmons, ADM, Environmental Management, 1979-1981
WN Venables, ADM Environmental Protection, 1979
WN Venables, ADM Assessment and Planning, 1980-1984

British Columbia. Ministry of Environment (1979-1986)

Water volume runoff forecasting files

  • GR-4241
  • Series
  • 1919-1983

This series consists of water volume runoff forecasting files created by the Water Rights Branch and its successor, the Water Management Branch. Data in the files on water flow and water volume was collected from 1919-1983, but the majority of the records were created from around 1936-1977. Records relate to forecasting river flows and water levels during floods or times of drought. They cover major rivers, reservoirs and lakes from around the province. Records include reports, studies, data, charts, histograms, working notes, and information on the equations and procedures used to create forecasts.

The records are primarily arranged by file code, which correspondence to a particular geographical location and/or study. Records without file codes are arranged alphabetically by the name of the body of water.

These records can be scheduled under Environment ORCS 35250-70.

British Columbia. Water Management Branch

Kamloops and Vernon water districts information book

  • GR-4289
  • Series
  • 1920-1925

This series consists of one informational binder related to various irrigation districts in the Kelowna water district and the Vernon water district from approximately 1920-1925. Records include financial records such as expenditures and payment schedules into conservation funds; information on irrigation construction and maintenance projects; proclamations; maps of irrigation districts; and general information about the district.

Records relate to the following irrigation districts: Black Mountain, Ericson, Grand Forks, Glenmore, Heffley, Kaledon, Malcolm Horie, Naramata, Oyama, Peachland, Penticton, Robson, Rutland, Scotty Creek, Southeast Kelowna, Vernon, Vinsulla, and Westbank.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch