"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".
"The definition of 'water' is not typically a controversial subject. But..... The final rule for WOTUS takes into account the 'interconnectedness' of tributaries, wetlands and other waters to downstream waters. This means the federal government would substantially increase federal control of Minnesota's lakes, streams, wetlands and drainage ditches," wrote Rich Sve, local government politician.
"Sufficient resourcing through water rents is a big part of sustainable water management and we must not be distracted by unfounded fears of turning B.C. water into a commodity or triggering NAFTA claims. Someone — whether it be B.C. taxpayers or water users — must pay for our water management system. This is not commodification. It is implementing a robust user-pay regime," concluded Deborah Curran.
"Regardless of the cause, it’s clear that natural catastrophes
are a major issue for Canada. With no sign that things
are going to be getting any better, it’s prudent for businesses
and policy-makers to start thinking of the long term-implications,
and place a larger emphasis on catastrophes when
making investment decisions," wrote Craig Alexander, TD Economics.
In July 2015 Metro Vancouver moved to Stage 3 water restrictions – banning all lawn sprinkling with treated drinking water and bringing in a number of other water conservation measures. “We need to reduce our discretionary use of water including lawn sprinkling and washing cars,” said Board Chair Greg Moore. “Our reservoir levels need to be maintained for priority needs in our homes and businesses, and for community needs like fire protection.”
"A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia" was developed by a working group chaired by Prad Khare. The Strategy will contribute to a sustained and healthy resource and provide a common framework for water management activities throughout the province by advancing water as a valuable resource which must be utilized efficiently, wisely and cost-effectively to sustain a high quality of social, environmental and economic well-being, for now and in the future.
North American communities that are on the front lines of managing excess stormwater flows need strong engagement from governments and civil society to develop and implement sustainable solutions to this widespread problem. “The steps we take now will help future generations. One of the first steps policy makers should take is to properly assess how vulnerable our communities are to the damaging effects of excess stormwater," stated Gustavo Alanís-Ortega.
“The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is drought and flooding. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. This is putting water supply systems and ecosystems under extreme stress. If we seize the moment, we will change how we do business and the cumulative benefits will ripple through time,” stated Kim Stephens.
"We are in uncharted territory, we've never had it this dry ever in recorded history. So we are under great stress at the reservoirs, consequentially we have to reduce our consumption. We need well over 140 to 150 millimetres to have reservoirs back to where they should be, " said North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto.
In 1992, co-authored papers by Tom Heath and Kim Stephens and by Ted van der Gulik and Kim Stephens were adapted and published as an integrated magazine article. "Although there is a perception that BC is water-rich, the reality is that we are often seasonally water-short (mainly because of storage limitations) during the period when water demand is heaviest due to lawn and garden irrigation," wrote the authors in their opening paragraph.
In order to conserve water during the unseasonably dry and hot weather, Metro Vancouver introduced new water restrictions that include regulations around lawn watering. Declaring that the Metro Vancouver region is in the second stage of a four-stage plan, the Commissioner of the Water District (Carol Mason) said "we are asking residents and businesses to further conserve water at this time.”