"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".
Research at Simon Fraser University resulted in development of a framework for evaluating application of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). “The research provides rainwater and adaptation planners with an overview of EbA from principles to practice. The evaluation framework can be used to assess and score the extent to which provincial, regional or municipal documents incorporate EbA principles,” stated Kim Stephens.
“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.”
"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.”
“We are using an adaptation strategy developed around the District’s Official Community Plan (known by the acronym OCP). For a local government, everything we do is driven by the OCP. By linking our climate adaptation strategy to the OCP, this results in an enabling framework for discussion and action in the spheres of influence encompassed by the OCP. It is all linked," stated Richard Boase.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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."
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."
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.