Watershed Health is a Priority within British Columbia’s Georgia Basin
In April 2014, Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia met with the Regional Services Committee of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) to present a progress report on the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative. His update followed an online demonstration by Kate Miller, Manager of the CVRD Environmental Initiatives Division, of the Water Balance Model Express: Cowichan Valley Regional Water Balance Tool.
Cowichan Valley is a Regional Demonstration Application of a Water Balance Approach
“The CVRD has been a regional case study for the development of the Water Balance Model Express tool for property owners,” wrote Kate Miller in her report to the Regional Services Committee. “This tool has resulted in an enhanced capability of the CVRD to maintain its leadership in the areas of watershed management and the development of technical and community based responses to emerging issues which are appropriate for our regional context.”
“The Water Balance Model Express is an example what we mean when we refer to the regions sharing resources, information and expertise. The financial contribution by this region was a mere $5000 for a project that was in excess of $300,000. The major funders were Metro Vancouver and the federal government through theRegional Adaptation Collaboratives program,” Kim Stephens informed the CVRD elected representatives.
“This leverage is a very tangible benefit for a very small investment. What excites the Partnership is how the Cowichan Valley stepped up to become one of our first demonstration applications for the WBM Express. This allowed us to work through the approach to populating it with watershed-specific Water Balance Targets.”
Goal of Inter-Regional Collaboration is……
“Watershed health is a priority is a priority and everyone has these over-arching plans and strategies. Think in terms of the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan that you have,” continued Kim Stephens. “I think the key take-away is that everybody is primed to move from talk to implementation and integration.”
“So, why collaboration? Here are the key words – affordable and effective. This is what it is all about. Money is not unlimited,” emphasized Kim Stephens.
“So what is the goal of collaboration? We are talking about standards of practice, whether those practices be engineering or planning. They have to be affordable and effective. Where we are trying to get to is a healthy watershed with healthy streams.”
It’s About Turning Vision into Action
“Because it can be so easy to go off-track, the mantra of the inter-regional leadership team is that through sharing and learning, we will ensure that where we are going is indeed the right way.”
“By interacting with people who are also trying to do a good job, we learn from each other. And so, for the inter-regional vision, the words are pretty simple: Mimic the Natural Water Balance and Protect Water Quality. The challenge is in how you move from that vision to action,” concluded Kim Stephens.
To Learn More:
To read the complete transcript of the presentation by Kim Stephens as posted on the Vancouver Island community-of-interest, click on Inter-Regional Collaboration: Partnership for Water Sustainability updated members of Cowichan Valley Regional Board in April 2014.
To download a copy of the “Progress Report to Partners”, click on Inter-Regional Collaboration for Watershed Sustainability: Overview of 2014 Work Plan.