Water-Centric Planning

Plan with a view to water – whether for a single site, a region or the entire province. Choose to live water smart. Prepare communities for a changing climate. What happens on the land matters – therefore, take into account potential impacts of land use and community design decisions on watershed function. Look at water through different lenses. When collaboration is a common or shared value, the right mix of people and perspectives will create the conditions for change.

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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.

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FLASHBACK TO 2016: “Our goal was to produce a publication that profiled the health of key streams and connected residents with the waterways in their neighbourhood,” stated Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo

We all learn from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experiences of those who are leading in their communities. Local government champions on the east coast of Vancouver Island are sharing and learning from each other through inter-regional collaboration. “In the RDN, we have seven basin-scale ‘water region’ areas for planning and communication purposes,” reported Julie Pisani. “We profiled streams in each of those water regions, where stewardship groups have been collecting water quality data.”

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Drinking Water & Watershed Protection in the Regional District of Nanaimo: “The program is well positioned, with a model of innovative collaboration, to tackle the issues and chart a new course to a sustainable water future,” stated Julie Pisani, DWWP Program Coordinator

“Like other locations in the province, the region is experiencing change: population growth as more residents are attracted to the area; climate change that manifests as longer, drier summers and more frequent short-duration intense rainstorms; and an evolving regulatory landscape that opens up possibilities for local water management,” explained Julie Pisani. “The solid foundation developed in the first 10 years provides a great opportunity to move forward. Will other regions take notice and follow in RDN’s footsteps?”

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WEBINAR (March 8): An opportunity to learn about innovation in public engagement in the Ottawa River watershed

“PlaceSpeak is designed for how Canadians behave in a digital age. Individuals are in the driver’s seat, deciding how they want to participate, on what topics, and how often they wish to be notified about opportunities to provide input,”stated Marina Steffensen. “This platform will allow us to break down the feedback received, resulting in a more nuanced and meaningful understanding of how participants use and interact with the Ottawa River watershed across diverse communities.”

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NEW BOOK (January 2018): “The Hard Work of Hope – Climate Change in the Age of Trump” – co-authored by Bob Sanford and Jon O’Riordan – seeks to develop effective solutions to the growing urgency for global action on climate change

This latest Rocky Mountain Books Manifesto emphasizes three themes: the growing urgency for global action regarding climate change; the fact that future development must not just avoid causing damage but strive to be ecologically and socially restorative; and the reality that effective solutions require changes to technology, restoration of biodiversity and increased public awareness. “Hope will require hard work by everyone if our planet is to remain a desirable place to live in a warming world,” wrote Jon O’Riordan.

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THE HARD WORK OF HOPE: “We still have a chance to save our environment,” wrote Bob Sandford in an opinion piece published in conjunction with release of his latest book (January 2018)

“The 2030 Transforming Our World agenda raises the ceiling on sustainability. The agenda makes it very clear that sustainable development can no longer simply aim for environmentally neutral solutions,” wrote Bob Sandford. “Canada, and British Columbia in particular, are in a good position to make sustainability possible. Though our society is powered by petroleum and lubricated by oil, it floats on water. Our society is a vessel in its own right. It is a lifeboat carrying us all over water toward the future.”

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“The Fraser River would be able to supply much of the water required for food security in British Columbia,” wrote Ted van der Gulik in a co-authored opinion piece published by the Vancouver Sun (November 2017)

“The lower Fraser Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in Canada, is vital to B.C.’s long-term food security,” wrote Ted van der Gulik. “At the mouth of the Fraser, the consequences of summer droughts and rising sea levels combine to impact river water quality while at the same time increasing the need for irrigation water. Delivering the water (from the Fraser River) would require a huge investment in infrastructure.”

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CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: “If communities are to adapt, and be quick about it, we must move beyond ‘shock and yawn’,” wrote Bob McDonald in a co-authored opinion piece published by the Vancouver Sun (November 2017)

“No longer is climate change a future scenario. It has happened more quickly than predicted. The real story is the accelerating rate of change, especially since extreme events create their own weather,” stated Bob McDonald. “As glaciers disappear and droughts become more frequent, it is vital, in every sense of the word to manage our most precious resource wisely. Actually adapting requires transformational changes in how we apply hydrologic understanding.”

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NEW POLIS REPORT: Reconciliation, Water and Watershed Sustainability through Collaborative Consent

“Collaborative consent is about a different way of being together and building a future for Canada in which Indigenous nations assume their rightful governance role as founding nations in this country,” says co-author Merrell-Ann Phare. “There are no barriers standing in the way of BC moving in this direction. Territorial and Indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories have been leaders in a collaborative consent approach for years.”

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LOOKING AT WATER THROUGH DIFFERENT LENSES: “The Blue Ecology concept for ‘interweaving’ Western and Indigenous thought goes to the heart of bringing different worlds together,” stated Fin Donnelly – Member of Parliament, founder & Chair of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia

“The Fraser River is my passion. The Fraser is one of the most diverse river basins in North America. The Fraser River’s diversity – including people and landscapes – inspires me. However, we need to apply ‘Watershed CPR’ to the Fraser to return it to health,” stated Fin Donnelly. “The impacts and consequences of this summer’s fires will be far-reaching. For years to come, Fraser River water levels (high and low) and quality will be affected.”

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GENESIS OF BLUE ECOLOGY: “Water – A First Nation’s Spiritual and Ecological Perspective”, a paper by Michael Blackstock, professional forester and scholar of Gitxsan descent, published in 2001

At the age of 86, Mildred Michell (N’whal’Eenak, or Rising Star, was born on May 13, 1914 and passed away on October 2, 2000) agreed to be interviewed on the importance of water to our lives. She was a highly respected and knowledgeable Elder in her Nation and by other Nations in the southern Interior. She was very concerned that the water was drying up, about pollution, and about the changes in the weather’s annual cycle.

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