"A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia" was developed by a working group chaired by Prad Khare. The Strategy will contribute to a sustained and healthy resource and provide a common framework for water management activities throughout the province by advancing water as a valuable resource which must be utilized efficiently, wisely and cost-effectively to sustain a high quality of social, environmental and economic well-being, for now and in the future.
In 1992, co-authored papers by Tom Heath and Kim Stephens and by Ted van der Gulik (left) and Kim Stephens were published as an integrated magazine article. "Although there is a perception that BC is water-rich, the reality is that we are often seasonally water-short (mainly because of storage limitations) during the period when water demand is heaviest due to lawn and garden irrigation," wrote the authors in their opening paragraph.
In July 2015 Metro Vancouver moved to Stage 3 water restrictions – banning all lawn sprinkling with treated drinking water and bringing in a number of other water conservation measures. “We need to reduce our discretionary use of water including lawn sprinkling and washing cars,” said Board Chair Greg Moore. “Our reservoir levels need to be maintained for priority needs in our homes and businesses, and for community needs like fire protection.”
“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. If we seize the moment, we will change how we do business and the cumulative benefits will ripple through time,” stated Kim Stephens.
"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.
“The lessons learned by Basin communities are relevant to any community trying to reduce peak demand driven by irrigation. To measurably reduce irrigation demand through residential water conservation outreach, you need a strong tool kit that includes good data and great personalities who are meeting people right at their homes and places of work,” said Neal Klassen.
All across BC, water utility operators in rural areas face challenges in keeping up with mandatory certifications. The Columbia Basin region is piloting a new approach that may transform water operator training. "This new training model will allow the Basin’s resident-experts to teach the practical skills they know so well, which will further their own expertise, while also earning CEUs without stepping into a classroom," states Joe McGowan.
"The hot, dry summers of recent years, and 2003 in particular, brought home the message that we shouldn’t take our water supply for granted. We need to change our way of thinking about our valuable water resource to ensure we are protecting water for communities, for economic development and for the sustainability of fish and aquatic ecosystems," stated Environment Minister Barry Penner.
"Integrated water management involves consideration of land, water, air and living organisms – including humans – as well as the interactions among them. Through partnerships, the Water Sustainability Action Plan is promoting the watershed as a fundamental planning unit," stated Mike Tanner. "The vision for the waterbucket.ca website is to provide a resource rich, highly interactive 'destination location' website."
"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.
Faced with the possibility of a five-month drought in 1992, and knowing that the reservoirs could be empty by September, the 16 municipalities comprising the Metro Vancouver Region imposed a ban on lawn sprinkling on June 25th. This was done after it became apparent that voluntary reduction in use would not be enough, reported Metro Vancouver's Tom Heath.