Note to Reader:
Released in February 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia provides a partnership umbrella for on-the-ground initiatives in the local government setting. On December 3, at its 2013 Annual General Meeting, the Partnership for Water Sustainability will kick-off the 10th anniversary celebration of Action Plan development and implementation. The AGM is an adjunct to “Get Your Mind into the Gutter: A Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting in BC”.
Build on the Past & Look to Future
“Wow, has it been ten years already? Back in 2003, a group of practitioners were thinking of reviving the Water Use Efficiency Committee within the BC Water and Waste Association. But efficiency was really only one piece of the water puzzle. And so, the Water Sustainability Committee (WSC) was born,” recalls Raymond Fung. He is Director, Engineering & Transportation for the District of West Vancouver. He served as the WSC Chair from 2003 – 2008.
“I still recall Ted Vander Gulik approaching me to be the Chair of this new Committee. I could have sworn he said to me, ‘Ray, this commitment will only take two to four hours a week.’ Little did I know he really meant twenty-four hours a week outside my day job!,” Raymond Fung adds with a chuckle.
(NOTE: Ted van der Gulik is the Senior Engineer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Chair of the Water Balance Model initiative, and the leader of the Province’s Agricultural Water Demand Model program.)
“Well, I ended up remaining in the role of the Chair for five years before passing the torch to Glen Brown. By 2010, the aspirations of the group were exceeding the support that BCWWA was able to provide. So by mutual consent, the original Water Sustainability Committee transformed itself into an independent, non-profit organization under the Societies Act and is now known as the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.”
(NOTE: Glen Brown is the Executive Director of the Local Government Infrastructure & Finance Division, Ministry of Community, Sport & Cultural Development; and is Deputy Inspector of Municipalities.)
“Tim Pringle (on left), who had recently retired from his role as Executive Director of the Real Estate Foundation of BC became the Partnership’s inaugural President. Kim Stephens (on right) evolved his role from WSC Coordinator to the Partnership’s Executive Director.”
Turning Ideas Into Action in BC
“Over the last 10 years, the WSC/Partnership has accomplished much. Through a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Environment, we developed the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, which provided the framework for our work,” continues Raymond Fung.
“As a result, the Waterbucket.ca website portal was initiated. The Water Balance Model was developed. The Water$ave Toolkit was completed. The Green Infrastructure Partnership was launched. And on Vancouver Island in particular, the Convening for Action initiative has inspired a whole grassroots collective to visualize what achieving water sustainability might look like on Vancouver Island in 50 years.”
“Yet, much still remains to be accomplished. For example, the Partnership continues to encourage the Province in its development of a Water Sustainability Act. The upcoming Rainwater Harvesting Workshop on December 3 being presented in partnership with the Irrigation Industry Association of BC promises to be another event designed to inspire change and encourage action.”
“So for a quick moment, I want celebrate with my water resources colleagues: Well done! There are so many of you that have been a part of this journey: Thank you!,” concludes Raymond Fung.
Framework for Building Partnerships
In 2003, the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (WALP) provided the original BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee with core funding so that the committee could spearhead development of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia in partnership with the Province.
The original WSC had an integrating role in collaborating with other organizations to create a lasting legacy. By drawing its members from a diverse range of disciplines and organizations, the committee functioned across the ‘boundaries’ and beyond the historical ‘limits’ or ‘constraints’ of the mandates, knowledge and expertise found in specific organizations.
In February 2004, the WSC and Province jointly released Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia: Framework for Building Partnerships. The main goal was to encourage province-wide implementation of fully integrated water sustainability policies, plans and programs.
To Learn More:
To download a copy of the Water Sustainability Action Plan plus supporting appendices, click on the links below:
- Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, February 2004
- Appendix B – Provincial Focus Group Findings, December 2003
- Appendix C – A Watershed/Landscape-Based Approach to Community Planning, March 2002
To download a set of five flyers that elaborate on the Partnership for Water Sustainability and its initiatives, click here.