Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: BC Greenhouse Growers’ Perspective on Water for Agriculture – reflections by Linda Delli Santi

“On our greenhouse farms we use the roof rain water. The greenhouse sector acknowledges the cost of producing potable water and also acknowledges that we do not necessarily need potable water for irrigation," stated Linda Delli Santi. “We would like to see a source of river water, non-potable water piped directly to our farms. This is not a new idea, many cities in the world have two water supplies, potable and non-potable readily available to residents."

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: Sharing and learning event is a first step in starting a region-wide conversation about water supply, a changing climate and food security

The forum was a high energy event and a great opportunity for sharing and learning. Agriculture’s ability to access to water is essential to ensuring the long term food security of this region. The surge in registrations in the final days clearly indicated a high level of interest in the forum themes. The Forum has started a dialogue. "Thank you to the organizers of the forum which I found to be extremely informative," wrote Councillor Petrina Arnason, Township of Langley.

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: Opening Remarks by Harold Steves, Metro Vancouver Regional District Director & City of Richmond Councillor (Nov 2016)

"The Metro Vancouver Agricultural Advisory Committee raised the idea of a water forum last year to help ensure an adequate and affordable water supply that is essential for long term food security in this region," stated Director Harold Steves. "The forum exceeded my expectations, in particular because it attracted significant representation from the agricultural community. Having them in the room made such a difference. The forum was truly a success."

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: PowerPoint presentations provide a record of the day

"We designed the Agriculture Water Forum to bring together agriculture producers, government representatives and water professionals to explore opportunities to improve water management for agriculture in British Columbia’s rapidly growing metropolitan region," stated Theresa Duynstee. "Attendees learned about government roles and the water regulatory framework for agriculture in the Lower Mainland region."

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: context for a securing a dependable and sustainable water supply for agriculture in Pitt Meadows – a co-presentation by Forrest Smith and Randy Evans

"Between agricultural crop selection, flood protection, fire suppression, aquatic and terrestrial habitat, invasive species management, recreational uses and water licences, there are widespread competing interests with different requirements of the drainage / irrigation system. Accordingly, the City is working towards the implementation of a Integrated Water Management Master Plan," stated Forrest Smith.

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: Metro Vancouver’s Water Supply – a presentation by Stan Woods, Senior Engineer, on Drinking Water Management Plan goals

“Water is a precious, limited resource. Metro Vancouver is committed to ensuring water is conserved and used efficiently. The Drinking Water Management Plan is the overarching plan for Metro Vancouver and its member local governments," stated Stan Woods. “Although per-capita water use has been decreasing,total water use in the region is forecast to grow. Options to increase water supply include increasing the volume of water from the Coquitlam source."

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: British Columbia’s Agriculture Water Calculator – a presentation by Stephanie Tam, Water Management Engineer with Ministry of Agriculture

"This online tool calculates irrigation and livestock water requirements to assist agricultural producers in determining how much water to apply for in their water licence applications, for both surface water and groundwater," stated Stephanie Tam. "Tere are about 20,000 non-domestic wells that will be required to be licensed by March 1, 2019 under the Water Sustainability Act."

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: Agriculture and Irrigation in Surrey – a presentation by Carrie Baron, the City’s Drainage Manager

"The presentation walks through the City being caught in the middle of a variety of water interests, water users and regulations. It tries to show that we have a finite supply of water in the river systems that cannot currently support all the demands," stated Carrie Baron. "The end result is that all interested parties need to work together to develop a watershed/water use plan for the area. The new Water Sustainability Act enables this management to occur."

Metro Vancouver Agricultural Water Forum: Predicting Salinity in the Fraser River under Climate and Man-made Changes – a presentation by Albert Leung

“A collaborative process to implement priority actions has been underway since autumn of 2013. The work described in the presentation and in the published report address action items in the Delta Adaptation Strategies related to evaluating the function of irrigation intakes and improving understanding of the potential impacts of climate and man-made change on irrigation water supply,” stated Albert Leung.