FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “We have many of the puzzle pieces needed to ensure a sustainable water future,” stated Steve Conrad

How we use our water is set by individual choices. Faced with various scenarios, residents will make decisions based on environmental and economic choices. “Moving forward, what we need to do is remember that putting puzzles together works best when you have many people looking at it from all angles.” His research interests include human behavior response to resource management policy.

TESTIMONIAL: “Bob McDonald’s ability to translate complex scientific information is clearly a natural talent,” observed Eric Bonham at the conclusion of the FLOWnGROW workshop (Nov 2016)

Bob McDonald’s opening talk ‘Water from a Global Perspective and Beyond’ reminded the audience at the FLOWnGROW workshop, in no uncertain terms, that we all live on one fragile planet that demands our collective respect. He delivered an energizing and inspiring 'call to action'. When Bob McDonald shared the first photograph of earth taken in 1972, showing that little ball we call home hurtling around in space, it put everything in perspective.

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “We can start back down the river of time – this time together – with a full understanding of the importance of embracing a water-first approach,” wrote Bob Sandford

Bob Sandford has a natural ability to ‘cut to the essence’ of issues. "This conference underscored the great benefit of focusing on the interweaving of western science and traditional teaching and local knowledge," wrote Bob Sandford. “What we essentially talked about is reconciliation: going back to the headwaters of where we got our relationships with water and with one another wrong so that we can start back down the river of time."

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “I created a term called ‘A Water Rhythm’ to help describe how to wean plants from regular water supply,” explains Ken Salvail, the ‘Grower Coach’

The Okanagan Region is heavily dependent on irrigation to nourish crops and maintain greenspace throughout a parched region. Ken Salvail’s experience is that people in the Okanagan use more water than is needed. This results from a lack of understanding of how much water is enough. "The irrigation systems that I design and install tend to teach plants how to live with constant water rather than little water," wrote Ken Salvail.

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “The challenge of climate change now demands a level of collaboration and commitment heretofore unseen,” states Eric Bonham in his reflections on the most important take-aways

“We deliberated long and hard at the planning stages of the program on how to include the ‘Spirit & Science – An Inclusive Journey’ component. Without question the decision to proceed was the correct one,” stated Eric Bonham. "Bob McDonald's opening keynote reminded us all, in no uncertain terms, that we all live on one fragile planet that demands our collective respect. Bob Sandford – the other keynote - also gave a very powerful presentation.”

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “The BC Framework is the lynch-pin for Sustainable Watershed Systems because it provides local governments with a financial incentive,” stated Kim Stephens

“No longer is asset management only about hard engineered assets – watermains, sewers, roads,” stated Kim Stephens. "Already facing a $200 billion challenge for renewal of hard infrastructure, 'Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework' provides a financial driver for local governments to integrate watershed systems thinking and climate adaptation into asset management."

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “How did we end up with a water ethic that is so completely disengaged from the place in which we live?” – question posed by John Wagner, cultural anthropologist (UBC-Okanagan University)

“A greater appreciation for the natural beauty of the Okanagan, and a greater appreciation for the valley as an interconnected series of waterscapes, from mountain top to valley bottom, could help us develop a ‘made in the Okanagan’ aesthetic,” stated John Wagner. “Ensuring the long term sustainability of the water resource in the Okanagan requires that we fundamentally transform the ‘settler culture values’ that have dominated the region for the past century and a half."

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “To protect watershed health, engineered infrastructure ought to fit into natural systems, rather than the other way around,” asserts Tim Pringle

“Designing with nature is efficient. It amounts to using income from natural capital rather than drawing down the resource,” states Tim Pringle. “The key principle is that settlement and ecology are equal values and they must be as much in balance as possible for wellbeing of human and natural systems. This condition supports better control of the life-cycle costs of providing infrastructure for the built environment.”

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “We all live on one fragile planet that demands our collective respect,” stated Bob McDonald, host of the ‘Quirks & Quarks’ science show on CBC radio

The workshop explored the role of water from the global to the local. The particular journey facing the Okanagan Basin includes the impact of climate change, water security, population demand and food security issues. "The Okanagan is a desert. As soon as people living there realize that, and stop living a California lifestyle, they will treat water as the truly rare commodity it actually is," stated Bob McDonald when he provided his closing reflections.

Keeping on Track: Risk & Uncertainty at the Nexus of Water, Food and Biodiversity — a call to action by Bob Sandford, water champion & author, at FLOWnGROW workshop (November 2016)

“We need to get a better handle on how even non-tipping points in climate and other parts of the Earth system might cause truly abrupt tipping points in our social and political systems. We need to better understand the 'critical thresholds' that exist within our water and water-related climate systems and better connect them to associated tipping points ," stated Bob Sandford. “You have room to move. Move now while that room still exists."