“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,” says Kim Stephens. “What you do on the land or how you treat the land has direct implications and consequences for water use.”
2011 to 2015
Living Water Smart in BC: Five regional districts endorse inter-regional education program to “Integrate Natural Systems Thinking Into Asset Management”
“The Inter-Regional Education Initiative, known by the acronym IREI, is closely linked to CAVI – Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. The Comox Valley CAVI team facilitates collaboration at the regional level, and IREI connects the regions for inter-regional collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas, policies and approaches for rainwater management and more recently, asset management,” said Kris La Rose.
“When we first conceived of creating a document which would collate all aspects of environmental issues around urban/rural land development, we had no inkling that the document would be recognized world-wide, nor that it would be embraced so thoroughly by so many different disciplines,” states Marlene Caskey. Now retired from government, she was the project lead for both the original 2006 and 2012 update versions.
“Proposed BC Water Commission would improve water services at very little additional cost,” says the OBWB’s Nelson Jatel
“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.”
“Water Sustainability Act for British Columbia” — New legislation sets stage for considering water in land use decisions
“Over the past four years government has engaged widely with British Columbians. We have used this input to create legislation that provides greater certainty for water users, improves environmental protection, and better responds to local and regional needs. The Water Sustainability Act recognizes that groundwater and surface water are interconnected and addresses the need to manage them together,” stated Mary Polak.
“Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” provides backdrop for Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting
“Living Water Smart is about adaptation – that is, collectively what we need to do…to adapt…to prepare for climate change. How we will get there is all about collaboration – that’s my code for silo jumping. We must get out of our silos and broaden our perspectives. Learn from others, share with others – that is when we grow,” states Lynn Kriwoken.
“While the B.C. government continues to act on ‘Living Water Smart’ – which is our vision and plan for keeping our water healthy and secure for the future – what the Province does is only part of the solution. Local and regional groups like the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council are stepping up and demonstrating leadership throughout the province,” stated Environment Minister Terry Lake.
FLASHBACK TO 2011: FCM Sustainable Communities Conference showcased BC’s Water Sustainability Action Plan
“We are CONNECTING THE DOTS between land use planning, development, watershed health AND infrastructure asset management. Those operating in the local government setting can now access tools and experience that will enable them to make a difference. The approach is keyed to three words: ALIGNMENT, COLLABORATION, INTEGRATION,” stated Kim Stephens.
“Watershed / Landscape-based Approach to Community Planning” – genesis of water-centric planning in BC
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”. “An important message is that planning and implementation involves cooperation among all orders of government as well as the non-government and private sectors,” stated Erik Karlsen.
“The Water Sustainability Act will help lighten BC’s water footprint and transition the province to a 'design with nature' way of developing land and managing water,” stated Tim Pringle.