"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.
Published in March 2002 by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the "Watershed / Landscape-Based Approach to Community Planning" was developed by an interdisciplinary working group and is the genesis of "water-centric planning".
Released in December 2014, 'Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework' is a game-changer. "Sustainable Service Delivery is the New Paradigm. It is the singular aim. Sound Asset Management practices prevent in-service failure of assets which consequently cause service delivery interruptions. Therefore, Asset Management is the means to achieve the aim," states David Allen.
Mayors and policymakers have the power to significantly reduce the threat of climate change through the infrastructure decisions they make in the next five years. A new report by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Stockholm Environment Institute points to a hopeful path for cities and their leaders. “Our leaders are capable of acting, have acted, want to act. We might be able to buy ourselves a little time here," says Seth Schultz.
The newly formed Saw Mill Run Watershed Association is coordinating the efforts of communities in the Pittsburgh region to reduce stormwater and pollution along the 22 mile length of Saw Mill Run, with a long-term plan to open up public access to the stream. “We're looking at greening the area, making the stream more natural and restored to reduce runoff," states Lisa Brown.
"The 'salt wedge' is a phenomenon that occurs in all tidal estuaries of the world. Salty and dense ocean water entering the river mouth forms an underlying wedge beneath the lighter fresh water that is exiting. Water that is high in salinity can reduce or destroy crop yields, affect aquatic ecosystems and damage infrastructure. The distance that the salt wedge extends up the river changes with the tides and the seasons," wrote John Ter Borg.
"The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and we can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in our watersheds. Annual volumes of water entering and exiting our regions are not necessarily changing; instead, what is changing is how and when water arrives – it is feast AND famine!," says Kate Miller.
“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have also prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground. The Regional Surface and Ground Water Management and Governance Study identified co-governance with First Nations as a primary condition for success in managing regional water resources,” stated Keith Lawrence.
The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. What is changing is how and when water arrives. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” states Bob Sandford.
“Climate models predict warmer, longer, and drier summers. This means that farms within the Lower Fraser River will require more irrigation water in the future. Local sea level is predicted to rise and may contribute to an increasing quantity of salt water pushing up the river. In addition, changes to river hydrology may occur due to the removal of the George Massey Tunnel, possibly further increasing salinity levels,” states John ter Borg.
“It’s my job to urge people to be cautious. I’m encouraging people to balance all these competing demands and be as conservative as possible. We can have fun in the lake and grow our crops and do what we want, but I don’t know why the lawn out here is being watered. In a drought, we should be cutting out our discretionary needs. There is now concern about how much water is in the lake and how much will be available for releases," states Anna Warwick Sears.
The Cowichan River is the lifeblood of the surrounding area of Vancouver Island, but it has been diminished by six dry summers in 12 years. The prospect of summers like 2015 becoming the norm is of deep concern to Rodger Hunter. He is Chair of the Cowichan Valley Watershed Board, which brought together politicians from local governments, First Nations and volunteers to collaborate in developing a plan with clear targets.