"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."
"Community input has confirmed that we can work together to reduce the impact of stormwater on our communities and creeks. A consistent theme was that there are a lot of good things being done but it is time for 'the next step'," stated Glen Parker. " Modified sewer/drainage taxes will motivate property owners to manage their stormwater and/or provide resources for our communities to manage it for them."
“The stewardship community can work with local governments to inform the broader community," stated Zo Ann Morten. “We can open eyes and minds. We can open doors so that together we can make the changes necessary to achieve a vision for a watershed. It is the streamkeepers who have the on-the-ground knowledge needed to establish restoration priorities within a watershed. That is the key to benefiting from local input.”
A distinguishing feature of the Penticton Forum was the audience interaction segment that was part of each module. "The Province’s Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives provide a framework and direction for convening for action in the Okanagan, on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver. Each regional initiative is developing a vision and road map for achieving settlement in balance with ecology," stated Glen Brown.
“Water stewardship involves everyone. Government alone cannot provide all the solutions. Reaching our vision of safe, sustainable, and valued by all requires partnerships – both maintaining the ones we value, like the Water Sustainability Committee, as well as forging new," stated Zita Bothelo.
"Water is the piece that integrates everything that we care about. We are using the phrase water stewardship, not water management. Stewardship is about replacing self interest, dependency and control with service, responsibility and partnership," stated Lynn Kriwoken. The Water Sustainability Action Plan comprises inter-connected program elements that give local governments and practitioners the tools and experience to do things differently.
The report is a practical guide that urges community leaders and water managers across Canada to look to water conservation and efficiency as the basis for a new urban water infrastructure. Too often, communities respond to 21st century water problems with 20th century solutions— bigger pipes and bigger pumps leading to bigger tax bills” says Michael M’Gonigle. “Communities are missing out the full potential of water conservation and efficiency.”
The Kelowna conference was designed to be a transformational event that would be a catalyst for change. "It was an important first step in focusing stakeholder attention on the decisions that need to be made now if we are to move towards sustainable water management in BC. Collaboration is an essential ingredient if collectively we are to create the province-wide momentum that will result in substantive change related to water management and use," stated Don Degen.
"The action plan’s goal is to encourage implementation of integrated water sustainability
policies, plans and programs across the province. The action plan builds on the foundation provided by
'A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia', a previous partnership development. The
‘WaterBucket’ website is the key communication strategy for the action plan," stated the Hon. Bill Barisoff, former Minister of Water, Land & Air Protection.
The Partnership for Water Sustainability provides a type of engagement and outreach with local government that provincial staff no longer provide. Collaboration with participating local governments creates sharing and cross-pollinating opportunities that help eliminate the ‘disconnect between information and implementation’," wrote Kim Stephens. "A desired outcome is that land use and infrastructure practitioners would understand how natural systems support municipal services."
A scenario comparison tool to assess green infrastructure effectiveness, achieve a lighter 'water footprint' and protect stream health. Learn More
The Water Conservation Calculator illustrates how specific water conservation measures can yield both fiscal and physical water savings for communities. Learn More
This Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
This Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
The BC Agriculture Water Calculator enables water licensing for all irrigation purposes, whether agricultural or landscape. All non-domestic users of groundwater in BC are required to obtain a licence. Learn More