Who is in charge of my water services?

Depending on where you live in BC, your water services come from either a well or a public system. The water system might serve just you. Or you might be part of a large structure that includes multiple homes and/or businesses.

In urban areas, it’s common for local municipalities, improvement districts, or regional districts to be in charge of your water. They maintain and operate the pipes and pumps. They also maintain other equipment for water, sewer, and stormwater systems for your home.

In more rural areas, water and wastewater systems may be owned and operated by private utility companies. They can also be owned by strata companies, First Nations bands, or individual homeowners.

So who makes sure my water is safe to drink?

The health and safety of your water is never left to chance. The BC Ministry of Health regulates drinking water systems. They regulate it following the Drinking Water Protection Act. Local authorities turn to both provincial and national guidelines to ensure that your water is safe for you and your family to drink.

Similarly, the BC Ministry of Environment regulates sewer systems under the Provincial Environmental Management Act and Municipal Wastewater Regulation. They must adhere to the Federal Fisheries Act and Federal Wastewater Regulation. The BC Ministry of Health regulates individual septic tanks and other small sewage systems.

Processes are in place that address health complaints with drinking water. Similarly, local health authorities regularly check daily to detect any problems. Plans are in place to quickly inform the public of any instructions if something major was to occur.

What if something breaks with my water service?

It’s good to know that your water can be consumed safely and that there’s little to worry about in regard to the water coming out of your faucets.

But what happens when the equipment that carries your water to and away from your house breaks down or experiences some other problem? Who’s job is it to fix your water services? And what do you do if a breakdown causes damage to your house or property?

Your local municipality assumes responsibility for the equipment (pipes, pumps, etc.) as well as the water or wastewater in your area. When equipment breaks, rules say they must fix it in a timely manner. However, individual property and homeowners are responsible for maintaining the pipes that connect their building to the water and sewer systems, and in most rural areas, individual homeowners are responsible for maintaining their own well and/or septic system.

The importance of property/homeowner’s insurance for your water services

Because the individual homeowner or property owner must maintain the pipes that connect them to the public systems, it’s important to recognize that there may be times when those pipes fail, whether from age or breakage, and you could indeed have a flood or other catastrophe on your hands for which you will be responsible.

For that reason, property or homeowner’s insurance that covers water incidents is important to maintain. You should check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered in case of damage from scenarios such as this.

Keeping your pipes in good working order

Of course, if you give your pipes the attention they need on a regular basis, you should be able to avoid most incidents of this sort.


At Urban Water Works, we’ll make sure your pipes are in good working condition. With our video inspection services and other maintenance procedures, we can help you avoid a catastrophe. In addition, when problems do occur, we can safely and efficiently address them so as to help you avoid as much damage as possible. Our prompt response and courteous service is what our customers love about Urban Water Works, and we’re eager to help you with any concerns regarding your water system.

For more information about our water services, call us at 604-790-8993.