"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".
Passed into law in May 2014, the associated regulations are now being developed. In October 2014, a diversity of individuals working on issues related to water sustainability came together at a workshop held at the University of Victoria. “This group of water leaders developed a statement of support to the province which identified action was required on two critical issues to insure success of the Water Sustainability Act,” reports John Finnie.
"When much of California is facing drought and limited water supplies, capturing and reusing every drop of water will not only be clever, but crucial. By moving water away from the people and places that need it, stormwater cannot percolate into the ground and replenish water we keep drilling deeper and deeper to reach. Californians can counteract the negative impacts of stormwater runoff by promoting water infiltration at our houses or businesses," wrote Paula Luu.
"The University of California’s Agricultural Issues Centre in Davis has compiled figures that allow some back-of-the-envelope calculations of how much water has been absorbed and is retained by fruits and vegetables that cross the international border in a year," wrote Don Cayo.
"Poster content was developed by water experts for specific communities in close collaboration with community representatives and educators through an iterative process of face-to-face discussion and focus groups. As a result, Waterscape posters reflect water issues that are most relevant to the local community, and have a sound scientific and technical underpinning," stated Bob Turner.
"We live in a dry landscape. The large lakes make water look abundant, but nature's yearly resupply is small. As our population is growing rapidly, so is our demand for water. Climate is changing and future water supplies are uncertain. Will there be enough water for our children and grandchildren? To meet the needs of humans and nature, we will have to rethink our water use, and value it more highly," stated Ted van der Gulik.
Alfonso Rivera is determined to help fill a knowledge gap with his mapping projects and a new book, Canada’s Groundwater Resources, which is aimed at not just researchers but the public. “Nationally we have no idea what our groundwater resources are...we don’t how much we can use, if it is sustainable, how it interacts with ecosystems," states Rivera.
“There’s no question that land development has an impact on our local ecology. One of the most visible and loved ecological features of a community is its water – its streams and rivers, lakes and wetlands. In working with the conservation sector, we decided to focus on these ecosystems to highlight their value and show how they are changing as our community grows over time," said Nancy Hofer.
"Water use reporting is more than simply meeting regulations. The more often we report, the more accurate our data is, and the more responsive we can be to shortages. The vision of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is to have a fully-integrated water system, meeting the needs of residents and agriculture while supporting wildlife and natural areas," states Anna Warwick Sears
Water use reporting software used in the Okanagan would allow information on major groundwater and surface water extractions to be gathered efficiently from all over B.C. “The water utilities have been very supportive. This approach will streamline fee payments and give much greater value to communities at very little additional cost," stated Don Dobson.
“The proposed new commission creates the necessary link between good water-use data and water management, a significant improvement to the current process of managing BC’s precious water resource,” stated Nelson Jatel. “The business case proposes a new commission that would manage water and build on the made-in-BC Water Use Reporting software developed in the Okanagan and piloted in the Okanagan.”