Using Pesticides – Applying pesticides near water

Pesticide applications in and near open bodies of water are highly regulated due to sensitive and complex natures of aquatic environments.

What is an open body of water?

It includes:

  • lakes
  • streams
  • rivers
  • irrigation canals
  • other natural water bodies

It does not include:

  • ponds or dugouts:
    • that have no flow off the property onto another property owner’s land
    • have an area of less than 4 hectares on private land
    • have an area of less than 0.4 hectares on public land
  • roadside ditches and small (less than 0.5 metres wide) dry, intermittent streams
  • storm water and water treatment systems

Rules near water

Anyone applying a pesticide within 30 metres of an open body of water must obtain a pesticide special use approval. Pesticide applicators can apply some pesticides near water by working under the provisions of the Environmental Code of Practice for Pesticides.

A pesticide special use approval is not needed if you are applying a pesticide on cultivated land, which includes:

  • cropland
  • improved pasture
  • managed turf
  • landscaped areas

However, you must follow the product’s label directions. This includes instructions about buffers for aquatic habitats (such as open bodies of water).

Learn more

For more information on pesticide use near water, see:

The application for a pesticide special use approval is available at:


Connect with Outreach Services:

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas
9th Floor, South Petroleum Plaza 9920 108 Street
Edmonton Alberta T5K 2G8

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-3773 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Outside Alberta: 780-944-0313
Toll free: 1-877-944-0313
Email: [email protected]

Connect with Lakeland College for questions about pesticide applicator or dispenser certification:

Phone: 1-866-853-8646
Email: [email protected]