Champion Supporter: BC Ministry of Environment
Note to Reader:
The Champion Supporter category of membership is the way in which the Partnership for Water Sustainability formally recognizes agencies and organizations that are playing a leadership role in assisting the Partnership with implementation of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
At the Partnership’s Annual General Meeting on December 9th 2014 in Victoria, the BC Ministry of Environment was presented with a framed “letter of recognition”. The letter was accepted by Lynn Kriwoken, Executive Director, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment.
The AGM was held in conjunction with the Managing Water Workshop, a collaborative undertaking with the Irrigation Industry Association of BC.
Sharing a Vision for Water Sustainability
“The Champion Supporters category of membership in the Partnership for Water Sustainability is our way of formally recognizing agencies and organizations that provide the Partnership with substantial financial and/or in-kind support that enables the Partnership to deliver the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. I really emphasize the in-kind support because the Partnership is made up of a lot of organizations. It is their support that enables the Partnership to develop tools and deliver programs under the umbrella of the Action Plan,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director, when he set the stage for presentation of Champion Supporter recognition of the Ministry of Environment.
Working Relationship with Ministry of Environment Dates Back to 2003
“One of our original champions that actually helped launch the Action Plan more than a decade ago was the Ministry of Environment,” continued Kim Stephens. “At long last we have the opportunity to recognize the Ministry, and in particular the role that Lynn Kriwoken has played over the years in leading the Living Water Smart initiative on behalf of the Province.”
“We had extended an invitation to the Honourable Mary Polak, the Minister of Environment, to join us today. But the Minister is not able to be here because she is in Lima, Peru at a climate change conference.”
“So Lynn Kriwoken is here to receive the recognition on behalf of the Ministry. That is more than okay. We are happy that Lynn will be the person to receive the ‘letter of recognition’….because without Lynn’s support at the beginning, there would have been no Water Sustainability Action Plan.”
The Genesis was “A Water Conservation Strategy for BC”
“I recall the meeting in April 2003 when Lynn Kriwoken said to the original Water Sustainability Committee – ‘what if I get some funding, and we make something happen’ – because it had been five years since release of A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia.”
“Initially the initiative was going to be called a Report Card on the Strategy; and then Lynn said – ‘let’s call it the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC’ – and that’s how we got it going in 2003. After that the Ministry provided core funding for the early work of the Partnership. The Action Plan was released in February 2004.”
Vision and Outcomes of the New Water Sustainability Act
“Although my 35-year career was spent in the Ministry of Agriculture, there is a family of people that I feel very close to, and that is the people in the Ministry of Environment….in Lynn Kriwoken’s shop and around the province. I remember talking with Lynn about her team a number of times. She has done an awesome job with that team. It is so nice to work with innovative people. I am so very happy to present this letter of recognition,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Partnership President.
“The Partnership embraces shared responsibility and our activities align with the mandate of the Ministry of Environment, including the vision and outcomes of the new Water Sustainability Act. Thus, support provided by the Ministry enhances the ability of the Partnership to collaborate with local governments.”
“Together, we are moving along a continuum that is guided by a shared vison for stream habitat restoration and watershed health. Over time, our knowledge expands and becomes clearer. The ‘Beyond the Guidebook’ series of of primers and guidance documents records our progress. With the Ministry’s support, the next collaborative deliverable will be Beyond the Guidebook 2015: Towards a Watershed Health Legacy in the Built Environment.”
Top-Down & Bottom-Up Collaboration
“Minister Polak is away at a climate change conference in Peru. Otherwise, she likely would have been here today. It is a real privilege to accept this recognition on behalf of the Ministry of Environment,” responded Lynn Kriwoken.
“I think back over a decade and cannot believe that it has been that long. A decade of working with great folks like Kim and Ted (and other members of the Partnership leadership team) on projects. I think back on the early brainstorming sessions that we had around the waterbucket.ca website; and what the Convening for Action in BC initiative could look like.”
“And when I do, I always reflect on those days as being my spa days away from the office. I always came away invigorated, inspired and always learned something from those brainstorming sessions.”
“I believe that the key to the success of the Ministry’s relationship with the Partnership and its evolution over the years has been our shared vision for water stewardship. Also, I strongly believe that senior governments can’t do it alone…can’t do it nor should senior governments do it alone…when there is such a wealth of knowledge and innovation and ideas at the local level.”
“Let’s all raise a water glass to the next decade for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC,” concluded Lynn Kriwoken in a toast to the Partnership.
Living Water Smart: BC’s Water Plan
The 45 targets and actions in Living Water Smart, released in June 2008, establish expectations vis-à-vis how land will be developed and water will be used in BC. In terms of implementation, support provided by the Ministry of Environment enhances the ability of the Partnership for Water Sustainability to collaborate with local governments to:
- align regional and local and actions with the provincial policy framework embodied in initiatives such as Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and Green Communities, both released in 2008;
- demonstrate “shared responsibility in action” under the partnership umbrella provided by the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia program, launched in 2004 and still evolving;
- steward the “Beyond the Guidebook” program which is founded upon and continues to add depth to Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released by the Ministry of Environment in 2002.
- undertake “sharing & learning” initiatives that are building practitioner capacity (i.e. develop talent), notably the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island program (launched in 2006) and the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (launched in 2012) which involves the Metro Vancouver region and four regional districts on the east coast of Vancouver Island;
- maintain the Waterbucket.ca website as a communications portal to showcase success stories; and
- develop and evolve web-based decision support tools, notably the Water Balance Model for BC (2009 Premier’s Award winner) and Water Balance Model Express for Landowners.
The Water Sustainability Action Plan is embedded within Living Water Smart, and is the vehicle for collaboration with the Province.