Category:

Understanding Water Resources

FLASHBACK TO 2012: “We are now specifically planning for not only the changes we can control, but the biggest one we can’t, which is the precipitation itself,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney when explaining the addition of the Climate Change Module in the Water Balance Model for British Columbia


“The Climate Change Module enables a wide range of stakeholders to make decisions based on a detailed assessment of climate change effects on local drainage, without having to decode the huge body of confusing and contradictory literature,” stated Charles Rowney. “Delivering this capability quickly and easily on the web is a ‘must’ – and this result is a ‘first’. The art form here was to find a way to incorporate meaningful estimates of future precipitation.”

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BOOK LAUNCH: “downstream: reimagining water” envisions a new water ethic


“The book ‘downstream: reimagining water’ is an anthology,” explains Michael Blackstock. “It brings together the perspectives of artists, writers, scientists, scholars, environmentalists, and activists. It does this by exploring the key roles that culture, arts, and the humanities play in supporting healthy water-based ecology. My chapter is titled Interweaving Water. It outlines four steps toward transforming sovereign knowledge into collaborative knowledge.”

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DOWNLOAD ARTICLE: Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium shines spotlight on “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (March 2017)


”The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values,” states David Stapley, Program Manager with the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. “With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices.”

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OP-ED ARTICLE: The Moment of Truth for a Changing Climate (published in the Vancouver Sun in January 2017)


“Blue Ecology is defined as the interweaving of Western science and traditional First Nations teaching and local knowledge,” stated Kim Stephens. “This article is an early step in a process to raise awareness of Blue Ecology and inform a provincial conversation about what we can do to manage water as a whole-system. Blue Ecology aligns with the whole-system, water balance approach for restoration of watershed systems within the built environment.”

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SHIFTING CURRENTS: How the Water Sustainability Act is Already Influencing Water Management in British Columbia (Keynote Address by Partnership for Water Sustainability at Landscape Architects Annual Conference, April 2016)


Kim Stephens and Ted van der Gulik of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC co-presented the keynote. “Licensing 20,000 wells initially seemed daunting when a provincial group met to brainstorm an approach to this immense task. The team had to solve the challenge of HOW to help groundwater users reliably quantify their annual water licence volumes. Suffice to say, the brainstorming resulted in a solution,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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“Recently identified (climate change) phenomena such as atmospheric rivers demand our full attention,” stated Bob Sandford – EPCOR Chair for Water & Climate Security, United Nations University Institute – in his call to action at FLOWnGROW workshop (Nov 2016)


“We have known for more than a century that for every degree Celsius of warming we can expect the atmosphere to carry 7% more water vapour,” stated Bob Sandford. “Storms are now occurring that feature higher relative humidity than ever experienced before. This in combination with rising sea surface temperatures allows for extreme cloud bursts and storms with greater power that last longer and carry more punch.”

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OP-ED ARTICLE: Hope for BC’s Water – despite gloomy 2016, there is optimism for 2017, write Rosie Simms & Natasha Overduin


“From communities and local government, all the way to provincial and federal government, we must accelerate efforts to build resilience to the changing climate and increasingly unpredictable hydrological cycle,” wrote Natasha Overduin. “The new provincial Water Sustainability Act provides much-improved tools to meet today’s pressing water challenges. The legislation, however, remains only a framework of promise and potential.”

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“We can start back down the river of time – this time together – with a full understanding of the importance of embracing a water-first approach,” stated Bob Sandford, water champion & author, at FLOWnGROW workshop (November 2016)


Bob Sandford has a natural ability to ‘cut to the essence’ of issues. “This conference underscored the great benefit of focusing on the interweaving of western science and traditional teaching and local knowledge,” wrote Bob Sandford. “What we essentially talked about is reconciliation: going back to the headwaters of where we got our relationships with water and with one another wrong so that we can start back down the river of time.”

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Dealing with Climate Uncertainty and Managing Risk: “The disconnect in thought between retirement planning and water management is a conundrum,” observed Metro Vancouver’s Robert Hicks in 2005


Robert Hicks has thought hard about how to connect the dots between water resource planning, climate variability and risk management. “Retirement planning is something that most people understand and do intuitively,” asked Robert Hicks rhetorically. “So why is it that when it comes to community and/or resource planning, we are seemingly incapable of overcoming the gap between long-term and short-term thinking?”

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“The challenge of climate change now demands a level of collaboration and commitment heretofore unseen,” stated Eric Bonham at the conclusion of the FLOWnGROW workshop on water sustainability in BC (Nov 2016)


“Bob McDonald’s opening keynote reminded us all, in no uncertain terms, that we all live on one fragile planet that demands our collective respect. When Bob shared the first photograph of earth taken in 1972, it put things in perspective.Bob Sandford – the other keynote – also gave a very powerful presentation. He reminded us of the cause and effect of changing climate conditions that is, in his opinion, taking on the semblance of a ‘run-away train’.”

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