Government of New Brunswick


The Water Supply Source Assessment (WSSA) Guidelines have been developed to assist both the public and private sectors engaging in projects where the water supply needs to be evaluated for adequate quantity (sustainability), water quality and potential impacts to existing water users.


Under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA Regulation) of the Clean Environment Act, specific undertakings require a project to be registered under the EIA Regulation and a WSSA to be completed. The specific undertakings include:

(1) The development of a waterworks with a capacity greater than 50 cubic meters of water daily. This could include, but is not limited to, water supply wells for municipalities or industries, as well as, communal wells for housing developments.
(2) All major residential developments outside incorporated areas. A WSSA would be required in cases where the area is not serviced by a municipal water supply.

The hydrogeological assessment and yield testing must be completed under the direct supervision of a qualified Professional Engineer or Geoscientist registered with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick. All final work must be signed and professionally sealed.


The WSSA guidelines outline the requirements for water supply development, construction, hydrogeological testing, and reporting. The primary objective is to promote the proper construction and testing of water supply sources so that they will have a sustainable yield in the short- and long-term and adequate water quality depending on the intended water usage. In doing this, information on the water supply aquifer will be collected, and the impacts on existing water sources assessed.

The Water Supply Source Assessment process involves two steps. The first step is aimed at refining the groundwater exploration target sites, while the second step focuses on the hydrogeological testing of the water supply.

Step One – The Initial Application
Prior to the commencement of any hydrogeological fieldwork, an EIA registration for the proposed project must be submitted to the Department. In addition, the WSSA Initial Application must be submitted in order for the Department to evaluate the proposed drilling target sites and hydrogeological testing, along with the environment surrounding the proposed water supply prior to the commencement of invasive field work.

Step Two – The Hydrogeological Assessment
Following approval of the Initial Application by the DELG, the Hydrogeological Assessment may commence, including field investigations and development of the water supply source. The primary object of the hydrogeological assessment is to determine if the water supply source can provide adequate water quantity and acceptable water quality for the intended purpose over the short- and long-term. The assessment must collect sufficient site specific data to evaluate the water supply and any potential impacts to existing groundwater users in the area. All field data, information, conclusions and recommendations must be presented in the final WSSA report. The report must be submitted to the Environmental Assessment Section for review and approval.

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