PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE (2014): How Managing Water Now…Will Shape the Future
Ted van der Gulik reflects on Convening for Action
Another year has gone quickly and the Partnership for Water Sustainability has taken on a number of initiatives in our fourth year of operation. The Annual General Meeting in Richmond 2013 was a modest success and we are trying the same format in Victoria for 2014. This has led to the workshop being held jointly with the Irrigation Industry Association of British Columbia and titled:
“Convening for Action on Vancouver Island: How Managing Water Now…. Will Shape the Future”.
The workshop will help focus many of the initiatives and strategies started by the Partnership’s Convening for Action Program.
Water Sustainability Act
After 10 years of collaboration the Province has finally passed the new Water Sustainability Act. The Partnership sent out an e-blast to our 1500-plus subscribers informing them of the new act as part of our collaboration efforts with the Province of BC.
The Partnership sends out an e-blast on a weekly basis, keeping our members informed on latest and most interesting water sustainability topics of the day.
Water Balance Model Express for Landowners
The WBM Express was launched late last year and is now operational for two communities, Cowichan Valley Regional District and the District of North Vancouver.
A number of other communities are in the process of getting “connected” to the model, with the City of Surrey taking the lead on incorporating a Google Maps capability.
Across Canada Workshop Series
Interest across the country in the Water Balance Methodology has also enabled the Partnership to deliver the Across Canada Workshop Series on Resilient Rainwater Management: Adapting to a Changing Climate.
The series proceeded during the October-November period, with stops in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. These one-day workshops were funded by the Intact Insurance Foundation through the Climate Change Adaptation Project at the University of Waterloo; and were attended by close to 300 participants.
Agricultural Water Demand Model
The Partnership has entered into a three year agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture to continue to deliver the Agriculture Water Demand Model (AWDM) program. This past year the South Thompson, Cariboo, Shuswap portion of North Okanagan Regional District and Gulf Islands had land use inventories conducted and will be connected to the AWDM over the winter.
The Partnership also entered into an agreement with the Okanagan Basin Water Board to resurvey the Okanagan Valley. North Okanagan and Central Okanagan Regional district were completed in 2014 and the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen will be completed in 2015.
Tools and Initiatives
In 2014, the work of the Partnership also encompassed:
- Convening for Action on Vancouver Island and other Georgia Basin locales
- Inter-Regional Education Initiative on Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver
- Water Conservation Calculator Upgrades
- Drainage Screening Tool
- Upgrades to the Water Balance Model.ca website
A Look Ahead
The Partnership will continue to implement the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia in 2015; and will look for new opportunities and activities that can help us celebrate our successes. Success can only be accomplished through the integration of efforts of practitioners, including our many partners in the provincial government, local governments and non-profit societies.
On behalf of the Directors, I thank the many partners that have helped us through the past year and look forward to working with you all in the year to come. Our successes are only possible with your support and efforts. I also wish to thank our leadership team: Kim Stephens (our Executive Director), Richard Boase, Eric Bonham, Glen Brown, Raymond Fung, Peter Law, Tim Pringle, Mike Tanner and Derek Richmond.
An initiative of the Partnership in the coming years is to integrate young, energetic professionals with a vision towards water sustainability. We encourage those who read this Annual Report to contact any of our leadership team members with ideas on how young professionals can be integrated into the society.