FAQ – Hydrology

National Hydrological Service – Frequently Asked Questions

1.      What is Hydrology?

Hydrology is the study of water and its movement, availability and quality.

2.      What do Hydrologists do?

Hydrologists study the chemical properties, biological interactions and the physical processes that govern the water cycle.

3.      When did Hydrological monitoring start in Belize?

Hydrological monitoring in Belize began in 1965 with the agricultural assessment of the Belize River Valley agricultural potential by the British Overseas Development Agency.

This assessment was expanded to include the Toledo Lowlands by the Toledo Research & Development Project (TRDP).

4.      Who manages water in Belize?

The National Hydrological Service (NHS) is a Government Unit in the Ministry of Natural Resources that is  responsible for hydrological and water resources information for the country of Belize. 

The National Hydrological Service is tasked to:

  • Collect data on the quantity, quality and variability of Belize’s natural water resources.
  • Provide Hydrological Investigations for engineering and other water resources projects such as:  Urban & rural water supply, Irrigation & drainage for agriculture,  Hydro-electricity, Bridges, Highway drainage.
  • Create publications of hydrological & water resources information for the benefit of water users.
  • Advise government on watershed management, environmental concerns and disasters such as: Floods, Droughts, Water pollution.
  • Coordinate the Development of the National Water Master Plan, National Water Safety Plan and Vulnerability profile.
  • Coordinate the Development of the National Water Safety Plan

5.      How many rivers and watersheds do we have in Belize?

35 major rivers and 39 identifiable watersheds of which 18 are considered major watersheds.

6.      Do we have transboundary watersheds?

Yes, there are 5: Rio Hondo, Mopan, Moho, Temash and Sarstoon watersheds.

7.      Does Belize have a National Water Policy? If so, what is it?

The water policy of the Government is to ensure the orderly and coordinated development and use of Belize’s water resources, to conserve and protect such resources for the benefit of present and future generations of Belizeans, and to provide the Belizean public with a safe, adequate and reliable supply of water.”

8.      Who is responsible for enforcing it?

The National Hydrological Service is responsible for enforcing the water policy of the Government.

9.      Does Belize have hydrological data?

Yes, data is available at the National Hydrological Service within the Ministry of Natural Resources.

10.      How do I get access to hydrological data?

Data request email can be sent to email address: hydrology@naturalresources.gov.bz for the attention of: Data Analyst.

11.      Is there a cost to get hydrological data?

No, there is no cost at this time.

12.      What kind of hydrological data is available?

Data on streamflow, water level and user demand is available.

13.      When should I apply for a Water Abstraction License?

Submission for a Water Abstraction Application must be done if someone intends to abstract water from any natural water body: that is river/stream or well.

14.      What is the time frame for processing a Water Abstraction Application?

Minimum 20 working days

15.      What are the supporting documents needed for a Water Abstraction Application?

  • Land document – Certified Copy (Proof of ownership)
  • Owners identification – Social Security, or Passport
  • Map of Area
  • Permission to abstract water from land owner if the land owner if not owned by applicant.
  • If wastewater discharge is being done, either a Clearance Letter  or Effluent Licence is required from the Department of Environment.  

16.      What is the next step after submitting a Water Abstraction Application?

A Site Visit will be done by the Licensing Partners from within the Government structure to assess site compliance.

17.      Can I apply for Permission to drill a well within the service area of Belize Water Service?

Yes you can apply.  However, applying for permission to drill does not mean you can proceed to drill a well. 

18.      If I decide to apply for permission to drill a well within the service area of the Belize Water Services Limited, what do I need to do?

Before submitting your permission to drill a well application, the applicant needs to secure a “No Objection” letter from the Belize Water Service.

19.      When should I apply for a Permission to Drill Permit?

An application for Permission to Drill must be submitted before or when someone intends to drill a well for any purpose.

20.      What is the time frame for processing a Permission to Drill Application?

Minimum 10 working days

21.      What are the Supporting documents needed for a Permission to drill Application?

  • Land document (Proof of ownership)
  • Owners I.D
  • Map of Area
  • Permission to drill on property if the land is not owned by the applicant

22.      How will I know if my licence or permit is ready?

Applicants are contacted via email and/or telephone number provided on the application form when documents are ready for pick-up.

23.      Is there a cost to apply for permits or licenses?

There is no cost for those services at this time. 

24.      If I cannot pick up my documents from the Ministry, what can I do?

Letter of authority along with a copy of the applicant’s identification card (Social Security or Passport) is to be presented.  Person picking up the documents also need to have identification.

25.      How can I submit my applications?

Application can be:
  • Scanned and emailed to hydrology@naturalresources.gov.bz
  • Sent Via Post
  • Delivered to the office.