With its headwaters in British Columbia, the Hay River runs across the northeasternmost corner of Alberta up into the Northwest Territories, ending up in Great Slave Lake and ultimately in the Arctic Ocean.
- The majority of water allocations are for the petroleum sector (89 % or 4,356 dam3) for surface water and are used primarily for oilfield injection, gas/petrochemical plants, and various other activities.
- One licence in the "other" category was issued in the 1980s and allows diversions of up to 960 dam3 for habitat enhancement.
- Although the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 23 lies within both the Peace/Slave and Hay Basins, it draws its water from the Peace/Slave Basin rather than the Hay River Basin.