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Convening for Action in British Columbia


"Convening for Action is a provincial initiative that supports innovation on-the-ground. From the perspective of those leading and/or participating in regional programs, having this community-of-interest provides the opportunity to 'tell our story' and 'record our history' as a work-in-progress," states Ray Fung.

Green, Heal and Restore the Earth: Ian McHarg’s “Design with Nature” vision has influenced implementation of British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Action Plan


In his 1969 book, Design With Nature, Ian McHarg pioneered the concept of environmental planning. "So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!," wrote Ian McHarg.

ARTICLE: Feast AND Famine – Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”

"British Columbia local governments are sharing and learning from each other. The province is at a tipping point. Water balance tools and case study experience are in place. It is within the grasp of local governments to move beyond traditional infrastructure asset management. They can account for nature’s services by implementing Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management," concluded Kim Stephens.

“The drought of 2015 suggests we may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime in Western North America,” observes Bob Sandford

The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. What is changing is how and when water arrives. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” states Bob Sandford.

Feast AND Famine Workshop: Will there be sufficient fresh water in the Lower Fraser River for agriculture in the future?

“Climate models predict warmer, longer, and drier summers. This means that farms within the Lower Fraser River will require more irrigation water in the future. Local sea level is predicted to rise and may contribute to an increasing quantity of salt water pushing up the river. In addition, changes to river hydrology may occur due to the removal of the George Massey Tunnel, possibly further increasing salinity levels,” states John ter Borg.

Feast AND Famine Workshop: Moving Towards a Water Balance Culture in the Cowichan Region

“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have also prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground. The Regional Surface and Ground Water Management and Governance Study identified co-governance with First Nations as a primary condition for success in managing regional water resources,” stated Keith Lawrence.

UBCM session on “Tools, Resources & Funding for Local Governments” informed BC elected representatives about the upcoming ‘Feast AND Famine Workshop’ (December 1 in Richmond)

"The workshop is about solutions and tools that are being developed in BC in response to a changing climate. Through collaboration, the Partnership mission is to support and enable practitioners and decision makers so that they can take action at a local level. The ultimate goal is to redistribute the annual water balance by protecting and/or restoring the three pathways by which rainfall reaches streams," Peter Law explained to local government elected representatives.

Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Kim Stephens explained purpose of “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” to local government elected representatives at 2015 UBCM Annual Convention

"BC local governments are faced with three interconnected issues. The first is to manage more effectively infrastructure and assets that underpin quality of life and economic productivity in an era of scarce resources. The second is to contain costs, taxes and risks. The third is to maintain community resilience in the face of challenges, including climatic variability and extremes," states Kim Stephens.

UBCM session on “Tools, Resources & Funding for Local Governments” informed BC elected representatives about the ‘convening for action’ leadership role played by the Partnership for Water Sustainability

The event was an opportunity for organizations to highlight tools, resources or other supports they can provide to help local governments to increase capacity and undertake local planning, projects and development. “The UBCM event allowed us to introduce local government elected representatives, especially those elected in the November 2014 election, to the Partnership and to the Water Sustainability Action Plan," states Mike Tanner.

Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Ted van der Gulik explained purpose of “Agricultural Water Demand Model for BC” to local government elected representatives at 2015 UBCM Annual Convention

“Many BC watersheds are either already fully allocated or will be in the next 15 to 20 years. Originally developed for the Okanagan Basin, the Agricultural Water Demand Model is currently operational throughout the southern half of BC. The model is web-based and enables scenario comparisons to assess the implications and impacts of a changing climate, in particular warmer winters and longer summers," states Ted van der Gulik.

Peer-to-Peer Training Delivers Results in Canal Flats

In May 2015, water utility staff from Canal Flats contacted Joe McGowan at the City of Cranbrook and requested peer-to-peer training support from Cranbrook utility personnel with expertise in Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) sewer camera operation.

Nestled in the Rocky Mountain Trench, the Town of Golden was an early champion of “Asset Management for Sustainability”

"We must remember that we have inherited our prosperity and the responsibilities that go with it. Blaming past councils for deferring infrastructure investment is an exercise in futility. Now is the time for the leadership to assume the political risks, accept responsibility, and move forward," wrote Christina Benty (former Mayor of Golden, BC) in the Fall 2015 Asset Management BC Newsletter.