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Water-Centric Planning Community-of-Interest


"Water-centric planning means planning with a view to water – whether for a single site or the entire province. At the core of the approach is a water balance way-of-thinking and acting. The underpinning premise is that resource, land use and community design decisions will be made with an eye towards their potential impact on the watershed," explains Kim Stephens.

Water Licensing Calculator: Managing Water as One Resource in British Columbia

“In British Columbia, surface and groundwater are now managed under the same regulatory system,” states Greg Tyson. “Effective February 29, 2016 all non-domestic users of groundwater are required to obtain a licence to withdraw and use water from wells. This means that about 20,000 existing non-domestic well owners, including those in the agriculture sector, must now apply for a licence.”

Is there a connection between Pacific Ocean warming and BC’s changing climate?

"Changes in Pacific Ocean conditions have major impacts on precipitation and temperature in the province," states Faron Anslow. “During a normal winter, the North Pacific Ocean loses heat. The weather from 2013 through 2015 prevented the cooling from happening as fast. As a result, the ocean became warmer than normal. Much of this was caused by the high pressure system and the relatively calm conditions that came with it.”

Oceanographer: Pacific Ocean blob is gone, but will return

A University of Washington report has found that the blob — a warm ocean area roughly the size of the continental U.S. — has gone, but should appear again every five years or less. “It was a pretty unusual event which no one predicted. In the future, we can expect more,” said Hillary Scannell, who co-authored a recent study of Pacific Ocean temperatures for a 65-year period dating back to 1950.

Living Water Smart: Environment Deputy Minister lauds work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

“The work of the Partnership is supporting the Province’s Living Water Smart vision and Green Communities initiative,” wrote Wes Shoemaker. “Other partnership capacity-building tools and resources developed by the Partnership, such as the Water Balance Model for BC and Water Conservation Calculator, are helping to build community resilience and align well with the goals of both the Water Sustainability Act and the Climate Leadership Plan.”

Context for the 2015 Drought: What Happens on the Land Matters!

For British Columbians, 2015 was the year of the great drought, dwindling snow packs, melting glaciers, beleaguered salmon runs and a costly forest fire season, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. “2015 ranks with 2003 as a defining teachable year. Lessons learned will inform how local governments move forward with a ‘water balance’ approach to rainwater management, protection of watershed function and land servicing,” observes Kim Stephens.

Managing One Water Resource: Putting the “Sustainable” in British Columbia’s Water Laws

“For the first time in B.C., groundwater is now regulated which means that the province is now managing surface water and groundwater as exactly what they are: one interconnected resource,” states Oliver Brandes. “The coming into force of the Water Sustainability Act is only one part of the long journey to a truly substantial, sustainable water law regime. The very best tools in the new Act’s tool box to protect water for nature are still being developed."

“We can no longer rely on water cycles being stationary,” concludes SFU’s Steve Conrad when reflecting on lessons communities can learn from the 2015 Drought

For British Columbians, 2015 was the year of the great drought, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. “We put systems in place thinking things are going to be stable. Now we realize that we’re going to have more ups and downs, and on a more frequent basis," states Steve Conrad. "Appreciating the unforeseeable means we should be prepared to reduce water use, consider alternative water supplies, capture any rain we do receive, and protect vulnerable ecosystems and important water uses during drought periods."

Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. "This promises to be the most comprehensive and inclusive effort to positively change the world in all of human history. This may well be the most important thing we have ever done for ourselves and for our planet,." stated Bob Sandford.

British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act is already influencing Water Management

In April 2016, the Environmental Managers Association of BC hosted a session about the 2015 Drought. “Three speakers will present on different aspects of water scarcity and connect the dots to the Water Sustainability Act. Oliver Brandes will describe his vision of what a world-class regulatory system can look like in B.C. Steve Conrad will elaborate on climate change science. Kim Stephens will explain what needs to be done to restore the water balance in urban areas," announced Stephanie Voysey.

Climate Change Adaptation is now given the same priority as Climate Change Mitigation

In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “The vital importance of water and water-related trade-offs with climate policy has largely been ignored to date. At first glance, water plays no role in the Paris agreement. Upon closer examination, however, we see that climate policy will have far-reaching implications for the availability of water and vice versa,” wrote Ines Dombrowsky.