In Yukon, the Waters Act and Regulations are the primary legislation that guides the management and sustainable use of Yukon’s water resources. .  The Yukon Water Board is an independent tribunal established under the Waters Act that is responsible for issuing water licences.

There are nine different types of undertakings that a water licence may fall under.  Each undertaking is described in the Water Regulations on page 13.  Undertaking types include:

  • Industrial
  • Placer
  • Quartz
  • Municipal
  • Power
  • Agricultural
  • Conservation
  • Recreational
  • Miscellaneous

 Although each project is  considered on an individual basis, below are some common triggers under the Waters Act

  • Direct water use of 100 or 300 m3/day or more, depending on the type of undertaking.
  • Watercourse crossings, including pipelines, bridges and roads, if the watercourse is over 5 m in width at ordinary high water mark at the point of construction (unless it is placer mining, in which case all watercourse crossings require a licence).
  • Altering the flow or direction (“watercourse training”) of a non-intermittent watercourse over 5 m in width by making changes to the channel or bank, or by placement of infill, docks, culverts, or erosion control materials (unless it is placer mining, in which case all alterations require a licence).
  • Alteration of flow or storage of a watercourse by constructing dams or dikes, when they exceed a certain size or hazard risk (unless it is placer mining, in which case all alterations require a licence).
  • Depositing waste into water bodies.
  • Constructing permanent flood control structures (some temporary structures also require a water licence).
  • Diverting a watercourse that is 2 m in width or greater at ordinary high water mark (unless it is placer mining, in which case all diversions require a licence).
  • Any other use that would have significant environmental effects.
  • Any use that would interfere with the rights of other licensed water users.

Other key considerations:

  • Is the project in Yukon?
  • Is the water use for a domestic user, in stream user or for the purpose of extinguishing fire on an emergency basis?
  • Does the activity involve water use or the deposit of waste?

If you have any project-specific questions about water licence triggers, please contact