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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."

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.”

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."

OP-ED: “Water – the need for collective and context specific action” – reflections by Rylan Dobson

"Business-as-usual is now no longer possible with the crisis that is faced by our global water resources," wrote Rylan Dobson. "The actions that will secure our water future will be more locally driven. Referred to as either context-based or science-based sustainability, there is a greater need for the business community and watershed users to better understand their individual local boundaries and directly their actions in order to ensure they operate within these boundaries."

NEW REPORT BY POLIS: Building Capacity for Watershed Governance in BC

An in-depth analysis of perspectives, emerging trends and opportunities associated with watershed governance and water sustainability. “Decision-makers, communities, rights holders, licensor holders, and stakeholders cannot operate in silos. Rather, they must develop a collective, shared vision for their local watersheds and how to better manage resources for the benefit of users, local economies and nature to achieve long-term watershed health," says Natasha Overduin.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Forum This Fall to Explore New Approaches to Freshwater Decision-Making in B.C. (Sept 2016)

The forum will engage B.C.’s freshwater stewards and leaders in a strategic dialogue of best strategies to support shared governance in the province. “B.C. is on the cusp of national – even international – leadership for shared decision-making on fresh water. This event can help propel those conversations, sketching out implementation for water governance that actively includes local communities in the process," states Lindsay Telfer.

“Water Act less than it seems,” wrote Tanis Gower in an op-ed published in the Vancouver Sun

"The current situation clearly demonstrates that B.C. needs a binding regulation — not just the current policy guidance — to explicitly and transparently establish how decision-makers must account for fish and other aquatic needs. While this was initially promised, decision-makers now appear to prefer the opaque, optional nature of policy guidance, rather than codifying the rules in a transparent regulation," wrote Tanis Gower.

Think and Act like a Watershed: Harness Nature to Adapt to a Changing Climate in British Columbia

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.

Water Licensing Calculator: Managing Water as One Resource in British Columbia

“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.”

Is there a connection between Pacific Ocean warming and BC’s changing climate?

"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.”