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Feast AND Famine, Flood AND Drought: How are Local Governments Responding in British Columbia?

“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground," stated Keith Lawrence. "One of the actions undertaken throughout 2015 was a more coordinated approach to communicating what is happening in our region, and what can we do about climate impacts."

“CAVI” is moving forward under a new name – The Partnership on Vancouver Island: Leadership in Water Sustainability


"The VI2065 initiative envisions a Vancouver Island based on long-term sustainability and water resiliency models that involve innovative partnerships. The results guide us towards effective land and water management practices. Water is an entrance point for the discussion on climate change, for the connection on this complex issue is clearly understood in light of the increase in floods and droughts," states Eric Bonham.

Flashback to a Watershed Moment: CAVI was subject of inter-ministerial announcement at 2008 Gaining Ground Summit

Vancouver Island is the demonstration region for implementing 'Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual'. The shared vision is to move toward water sustainability by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices. “We wish to advance water-centric planning and a Design with Nature way-of-thinking and acting. The desired outcome is liveable communities in balance with ecology," stated Jack Hall in 2008.

Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative: Partnership for Water Sustainability updated Regional District of Nanaimo Board (May 2016)

"The Partnership for Water Sustainability brings together, and supports the efforts of, local and regional governments across BC. It’s overarching goal is to provide tools to help organizations achieve their water sustainability goals, and opportunities for shared learning. The IREI is an outstanding example of this shared learning approach, and is endorsed by 5 Regional Boards, representing 75% of the population in BC," stated Randy Alexander.

Convening for Action: The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local

“The major outcome from the Learning Lunch Seminar Series has been the demonstrated effectiveness of the regional team approach, a model that has broad application potential throughout Vancouver Island and beyond. It demonstrates that when the parties reach for a common vision and work through their jurisdictional differences it is possible to accomplish mutual goals and implement sustainable practices within an overriding watershed context," stated Eric Bonham.

Georgia Basin IREI introduced to Environmental Managers Association of BC (April 2016)

“Restoring the absorbency of the urban landscape would reduce demand for landscape irrigation water and sustain environmental flows during droughts. It would also reduce stream erosion in wet weather," stated Kim Stephens. ”Too often people think of land and water as being independent – almost like silos. But what we do on the land, and whether we treat the land with respect, has direct implications and consequences for water use."

Georgia Basin IREI introduced to civil engineering graduates of BCIT (March 2016)

"The presentation by Kim Stephens gave further insight into how thinking has evolved regarding stormwater management in our region and elsewhere. His discussion of Voodoo Hydrology reinforced the importance of questioning everything, a habit I try to encourage in my students," stated Laith Furatian. The term was coined by Andy Reese, an American engineer and writer, in 2006 to describe the mis-application of science.

Georgia Basin IREI introduced to Delta’s Mayor and Council (Dec 2015)

"It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing. This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask ‘what will this community look like in 50 years’, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years," stated Mayor Lois Jackson.

Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative: Partnership’s Kim Stephens introduced CRD Environmental Services Committee to “Beyond the Guidebook 2015″

The Capital Regional District has undergone a transition, from ‘stormwater-based thinking’ that is narrowly focussed, to ‘watershed-based thinking’ that is holistic in approach. Judy Brownoff, Chair of the Environmental Committee, welcomed Kim Stephens and invited him to update the members about the CRD chapter in Beyond the Guidebook 2015. CRD experience shows that local governments can foster a new ‘Land Ethic’ through Integrated Watershed Management Strategies.

FLASHBACK TO 2011: Vision for implementing Sustainable Service Delivery in the Comox Valley introduced at “CAVI Forum within Vancouver Island Summit”

“So, to promote a holistic approach to infrastructure asset management, we have crystallized three key objectives for Sustainable Service Delivery: 1) pay down the legacy cost of existing hard infrastructure; 2) reduce the life-cycle cost of new hard infrastructure; and, 3) shift from gray to green to protect downstream values (i.e. environmental and/or agriculture)," stated Kevin Lagan, former Director of Operational Services with the City of Courtenay, in 2011.