Towards Water Sustainability on Vancouver Island: “SO WHAT are the ways we inform, inspire and enable people to work together through partnerships to ACT NOW?”

In September 2006, CAVI-Convening for Action was launched in conjunction with the Water in the City Conference. At the consultation workshop, and to prime breakout groups for their brainstorming, Erik Karlsen led them through a series of questions: What are the conditions that create the need for change? So what are the options and the best choice? Now what are the strategies and commitments? Then what will be done to monitor performance and respond to future changes?

FLASHBACK TO 2006: A message from Barry Penner, former Minister of the Environment, lauded the success of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia

“I am pleased with the continuing success of the partnership in providing program delivery for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia,” stated Barry Penner. “This initiative is all about sharing information and promoting water stewardship at the community level. I value the important role this partnership is playing in promoting water awareness and supporting communities to integrate water management practices with local land use planning and development programs."

“Meeting of the Minds” in Parksville (Sept 2005): Build a communications network to address the issues facing the water and wastewater industry within the Vancouver Island region

"The group was asked to identify what issues, problems or concerns exist currently within the Vancouver Island region," wrote Kerry Elfstrom. "It was agreed that Vancouver Island could be the focus since it has clearly defined geographical boundaries, every element of the industry represented (suppliers, operators, consultants, educators, interested Associations etc.) and advantageous proximity to the provincial Government."

FLASHBACK TO 2011: Framework for a “Regional Team Approach to Water Sustainability in the Thompson Rivers Region” explored at a concept development session organized by the Partnership for Water Sustainability, and held in Kamloops

"The Concept Development Session in September 2011 served as an inaugural meeting of individuals with a role in water and land management. The session purpose was to determine the viability of a regional team approach to water sustainability within the region ," explained Ron Smith. "The apparent disconnect between water and land management was noted by many participants."

FLASHBACK TO 2011: Okanagan Basin Water Board released ‘Managing Stormwater in a Changing Climate’ – a report on the From Rain to Resource 2010 workshop


"We spent the last half a century trying to control runoff with dikes, storm sewers, curbs and gutters. Now, increased development and increased storm intensity from climate change are increasing peak flows and altering the rules of the game," stated Anna Warwick Sears. “The Okanagan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of unmanaged stormwater and rainwater."

TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: Sustainable Watershed Systems – a decade long journey has its genesis in the seminar that launched the Beyond the Guidebook Initiative (November 2007)

“The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in BC being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Minister of Environment Barry Penner in 2007. “The Convening for Action initiative creates an opportunity to move beyond rainwater management to embrace all components of the water cycle through integrated water management.”

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks – What Can Streamkeepers Do?” – theme for regional workshop hosted by North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

“My motivation is simple – I live right by a stream. I hear it roar when the rain is heavy, I hear it trickle in the summer. It provides comfort on dreary days. To me it is nature’s music. It is always there, that is how it should be. A threat to that undermines all those emotions that I and many streamkeepers feel," stated Jane Dysart. “Cause and effect. We hope to learn where we can help local government, and possibly participate by bringing ideas based on knowledge from this workshop.”

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Communities do have choices. Will they get it right the second time?” asked Kim Stephens at a workshop organized by the North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

The 2nd annual North Vancouver workshop organized attracted participants from communities throughout the Metro Vancouver region, and on a Saturday afternoon! “The scope of involvement and influence of the streamkeeper is expanding beyond the creek channel,” stated Kim Stephens. “There is something taking place in British Columbia right now. It is a re-kindling of what took place in the 1990s and early 2000s in terms of the stewardship sector."

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – hosted by Forester University (May 2017), the Water Balance Webinar from British Columbia introduced a North American audience to the methodology that underpins vision for “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”

"We were delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Balance Methodology, via a Forester University webcast,” stated Emily Shine. "At Forester University, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management and green infrastructure, and that is why we described Water Balance Methodology as a webinar that could not be missed."

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Slow, sink and spread rainwater runoff to mimic the water balance,” stated UBC’s Julie Wilson at a workshop organized by the North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

“My goal is for us to think about how water moves through the landscape, as it falls as precipitation and is altered by the urban environment, and then understand how can we can go about mimicking the natural water balance,” stated Julie Wilson. “I have used the Water Balance Express for a few years in the courses that I teach. The reception that I get is overwhelmingly positive. Students really love using the Water Balance Express because it is fun and user friendly.”