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Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia

DOWNLOAD: “The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series” – this capacity-building program was a “grass-roots” demonstration application of how to build inter-departmental and inter-governmental alignment to achieve the vision for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan


Inter-departmental participation by all member local governments effectively meant closing front counters on three Fridays for most of the day so that planning, engineering, operations and building inspection staff could attend the Learning Lunch seminars. “Throughout the series, our theme and our challenge was to ask participants what will they do better or differently to achieve a shared vision for the Cowichan Valley,” stated David Hewetson, Building Inspector with the City of Duncan. “This is why it was so important to get everyone thinking in terms of the What – So What – Now What mind-map.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2007: “Because people are so busy in their own worlds, it takes a third party to connect them,” stated John Finnie, CAVI Chair, at the launch event in the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Series on Vancouver Island


“There are indeed a lot of good things happening throughout Vancouver Island,” stated John Finnie. “Yet practitioners in local government are not necessarily aware when they are being innovative and are not often aware of innovation in other municipalities. We believe a key to the success of CAVI is that we are talking to people, not preaching at them. Our approach is to inform and educate. We do this by creating situations for people to have conversations.”

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KEYNOTE AT COMMUNITY MEETING OF COQUITLAM RIVER WATERSHED ROUNDTABLE (June 2017): "Everyone needs to agree on expectations, and how all the players will work together," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he explained the ‘regional team approach’


“The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local,” stated Kim Stephens. “We use the word collaboration a lot in British Columbia. And it means something to us. But in other parts of the world, my experience is that they don’t really understand our ‘top-down, bottom-up’ approach. It may take us longer to get there, but collaboration is how we get to the destination.”

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KEYNOTE AT REGIONAL WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY NORTH SHORE STREAMKEEPERS (March 2017): "Redevelopment of neighbourhoods creates opportunities to ‘get it right’ the second time and restore watershed health," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Our region is hemmed in by the mountains, the sea, the US border and the Agricultural Land Reserve. This means population growth will be accommodated through redevelopment, and this involves redevelopment of watersheds. This is what gives us the second chance to get it right,” stated Kim Stephens. “As the housing stock turns over, there is a window of opportunity. We get one window every 50 years. Will local government take action in time?”

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KEYNOTE AT ‘RISING TO THE CHALLENGE’ CONFERENCE IN AUSTRALIA (August 2016): “Two keynote presentations in Australia over a 15-year period have allowed me to view our evolving British Columbia situation in a comparative context,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our “whole systems” approach to water balance management,” observed Kim Stephens. “BC is moving from asset management to ‘sustainable service delivery’, with a focus on protecting the ‘water balance services’ that a watershed system provides.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2014: Metro Vancouver elected representatives were informed that UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly coined the phrase “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” to explain why environmental degradation is incremental


“Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss. You can have a succession of changes. At the end you want to sustain miserable leftovers. And the question is, why do people accept this?,” stated Daniel Pauly.

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NANAIMO WATER SYMPOSIUM: Moving Towards Restorative Development through Collaboration – The Hard Work of Hope (April 11-12, 2018)


“Communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration – have you thought about the power of the 4Cs? When all four are in play, good things happen,” states Derek Richmond. “Are you also aware of the beneficial outcomes that are flowing from collaboration between local government and the stewardship sector in the Nanaimo region? A groundswell of heightened awareness is translating into involvement and empowerment to make a difference. Join us on April 11-12 to learn more.”

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DID YOU KNOW THAT: waterbucket.ca is home for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia


“Knowing the Waterbucket user-base was wanting to find information easily, we redesigned the home page with not only a more contemporary look and feel but also to facilitate it being a portal to all of the different content-rich sections of the site,” stated Susan Friesen. “”Now site users can enjoy a faster, easier and mobile-friendly experience to conduct their research and become more informed with the valuable resources the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC provides.”

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Reflections on Inter-Generational Learning: “Today, how does any young professional truly learn his or her trade when so much of daily life revolves around the use of ‘apps’ for instant answers or solutions?” pondered Wally Wells when reflecting on what it means to be a professional engineer


“The reality today is a very different work environment then what we ‘old guys’ grew up in,” stated Wally Wells. “That leads to a required dialogue of what communicating really means and how the message is received and interpreted by different generations. Maybe, just maybe, we take too much for granted based on what we individually know in trying to communicate asset management. We need to think very hard about the way we carry the message – with, I would suggest, more thought to the perception of the listener.”

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SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “The Partnership understanding of hydrology and watershed management issues in the Pacific Northwest provides some intriguing insights,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney, Scientific Authority, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (September 2017)


In September 2017, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia announced the re-build of the waterbalance.ca website. It now provides easy access to an array of 11 online decision support tools and calculators. “The leadership shown by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in decisively moving in this direction well over a decade ago has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn,” stated Dr. Rowney.

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