Series GR-1236 - Records relating to water works and water power projects

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Records relating to water works and water power projects

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  • textual record
  • microform
  • cartographic material
  • graphic material

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GR-1236

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Date(s)

  • 1915-1953 (Creation)
    Creator
    British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Physical description area

Physical description

Originals, 1.54 m; microfilm (neg.), 1913-1953, 35 mm, 4 reels [B14161-B14164]

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Name of creator

(1909-1979)

Biographical history

The Water Rights Branch was established in 1909. Its name was changed to Water Management Branch in 1979.

The Water Rights Branch reported to the following departments and ministries: Dept. of Lands (1909-1945), Dept. of Lands and Forests (1945-1962), Dept. of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (1962-1975), Dept of Environment (1975-1976), Ministry of the Environment (1976-1978) and Ministry of Municipal Affairs (1978-1979).

The Dept. of Lands was established in 1908 (Department of Lands Act, SBC 1908, c. 31). Before 1908 the agencies responsible for the functions of the Dept. of Lands: (1) the Dept. of Lands and Works (Crown lands management, sales, pre-emptions and leases, lands surveying and mapping, timber inspection, forest protection and log scaling), and (2) the Dept. of Mines (water rights in regards to mining operations).

The Dept. of Lands, headed by the Chief Commissioner of Lands, was given responsibility for public lands and water rights, and all matters connected therewith. (SBC 1908, c. 31, s. 5). These responsibilities included: (1) the management of all public lands, as per the Land Act, (RSBC 1897, c. 113); (2) administration of water rights, as per the Water Clauses Consolidation Act, (RSBC 1897, c. 191) [in 1892 by means of the Water Privileges Act (SBC 1892, c. 47), the government had reserved to itself the right to manage all water resources in the province that were unreserved and un-appropriated as of April 23, 1892]; and (3) land settlement programs for returned soldiers.

In 1909, the enactment of the Water Act (SBC 1909, c. 48) resulted in the creation of the Water Rights Branch of the Dept. of Lands, under the management of the Chief Water Commissioner (re-named Comptroller of Water Rights in 1912). This legislation also resulted in the creation of Water Districts under the management of District Engineers, who would be responsible for management in the field of the Branch’s responsibilities.

In 1945, the Dept. of Lands was renamed the Dept. of Lands and Forests (Department of Lands Act Amendment Act, SBC 1945, c. 45).

Custodial history

Scope and content

Records relating to water works and water power projects. Consists 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.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the Water Management Branch, Ministry of Environment, 1982.

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There are no access restrictions.

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General note

Water rights plans (4th series) transferred to the map collection, map accession M889207. Three forest inventory atlases of proposed clearing area, Buttle Lake; plans of Kootenay and Kootenay River area and plans of the Golden Windermere area transferred to the map collection, map accession M90-032. See also map accession M889010, plans accompanying reports on water rights of Indian reserves prepared by Dominion Water Powers Branch.

General note

Accession number(s): 93-7373; M889207; M889010; M90-032; G82-082

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Physical storage

  • Box: 913430-1099
  • Box: B14161