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State of Water in BC

“The Fraser River would be able to supply much of the water required for food security in British Columbia,” wrote Ted van der Gulik in a co-authored opinion piece published by the Vancouver Sun (November 2017)


“The lower Fraser Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in Canada, is vital to B.C.’s long-term food security,” wrote Ted van der Gulik. “At the mouth of the Fraser, the consequences of summer droughts and rising sea levels combine to impact river water quality while at the same time increasing the need for irrigation water. Delivering the water (from the Fraser River) would require a huge investment in infrastructure.”

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NEW POLIS REPORT: Reconciliation, Water and Watershed Sustainability through Collaborative Consent


“Collaborative consent is about a different way of being together and building a future for Canada in which Indigenous nations assume their rightful governance role as founding nations in this country,” says co-author Merrell-Ann Phare. “There are no barriers standing in the way of BC moving in this direction. Territorial and Indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories have been leaders in a collaborative consent approach for years.”

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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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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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Maude Barlow: Boiling Mad Over Canada’s Water Woes


Maude Barlow has chosen to focus on Canada’s looming water crisis in her latest book, Boiling Point. While her main focus is on national problems, there is, much that specifically concerns British Columbia. The belief that Canada has an abundance of water is dangerously misleading, she writes. “We face serious issues of water contamination … overextraction, glacial melt, and climate change.”

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Moving Towards Watershed & Water Sustainability in British Columbia: “Linking rainfall, the landscape, streamflow, groundwater and Sustainable Service Delivery has been a building blocks process,” stated Kim Stephens in his presentation to municipal engineers at the Annual APEGBC Conference (Oct 2016)


“The excellent presentation by Kim Stephens has provided me with inspiration,” commented Dr. Tom Gleeson. He teaches a course on Sustainable Water Resources for engineers at the University of Victoria. “I was really impacted by how clearly Kim has thought through organizing principles for implementing a water balance approach. I have borrowed from his slides and his thinking to develop lecture material for my course.”

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‘Water will drive most decision-making’ in BC’s future, says 2016 Land Champion award-winner


“Because we simply will have less water. There will be larger storm events in the winter, and dealing with flooding and infrastructure, and then there will be much less water in the summertime in most communities. So climate will accelerate the sense of water shortage. I think local governments are going to start assessing the water impacts of any land-use decision that they make,” stated Deborah Curran.

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OPINION: Climate change threatens survival of Cowichan River, says David Anderson, former federal Minister of Enironment


“The Cowichan River Basin is in its third consecutive year of drought and in its eighth drought year since 1998.” wrote David Anderson. “The river is the lifeblood of the Cowichan Valley. Its salmon runs have sustained the Cowichan First Nations since time immemorial. It supports both commercial and sport fisheries, and replenishes the aquifer that provides water for local agriculture and thousands of residents. The river also provides water for the local pulp mill.”

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NEW REPORT BY POLIS: Top 5 Water Challenges that will Define British Columbia’s Future


“When you take stock of all the examples of water issues emerging across BC’s watersheds, it amounts to a daunting array of complex problems,” says report co-author Rosie Simms. “These challenges also a present a genuine opportunity to collaborate on solutions, including full implementation of the province’s recent Water Sustainability Act through development of robust supporting regulations.”

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OP-ED: “Protect our most precious resource, or we’re all dead in the water,” say Oliver Brandes and Rosie Simms


“The ominous threat of a water crisis looms even here in British Columbia. The implications are monstrous …B.C. is responding with its new provincial water law—the Water Sustainability Act ….but more is needed, especially when it comes to implementation. Let’s celebrate these initial positive steps, but also keep working to ensure a robust regime to protect life-sustaining freshwater flows.”

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