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The Mission Continues
“The Lifetime Members category recognizes the contributions of key individuals who have played a pivotal role in the genesis and/or evolution of the Partnership,” reports Tim Pringle, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability.
“The Directors created the Lifetime Membership category to achieve two outcomes. First, we believe this is a material way to recognize the valued contributions over time of key individuals who have been involved in developing and/or delivering the program elements comprising the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia (and which provided the genesis for the Partnership).”
“Secondly, this provides those key individuals with formal standing in their retirement so that they can continue to identify with the Partnership and the Water Sustainability Action Plan. In other words, they may have retired from their day-jobs, but the mission to advance a new way of doing business in BC continues.”
“Continued participation in the activities of the Partnership is a tangible way for our Lifetime Members to share the knowledge and wisdom that they accumulated over the course of their careers in leadership positions in BC,” concludes Tim Pringle.
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Sharing a Vision for Water Sustainability
“The Champion Supporters category of membership in the Partnership is our way of formally recognizing agencies and organizations that provide the Partnership with substantial financial and/or in-kind support. Their support is vitally important because that is what enables the Partnership to develop tools and deliver programs under the umbrella of Convening for Action in British Columbia,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability.
“While the Partnership is a not-for-profit society, our members mostly represent local governments. Hence, their demonstrated commitment to achieving a shared vision for water sustainability in a local government setting is vitally important to the Partnership’s capability to carry out our mission.”
Recognition of Water Balance Model Partners
“A catalyst for incorporation of the Partnership was the Water Balance Model initiative,” continues Ted van der Gulik, a founding Director of the Partnership and Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership. “An essential part of the plan for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Water Balance Model was creation of a legal entity where the tool would reside permanently. The Partnership for Water Sustainability is that entity.”
“The Champion Supporters designation also allows the Partnership to recognize the commitment of those Water Balance Model Partners that are making exceptional contributions to the success of the Partnership’s outreach and education program.”
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Note to Reader:
In September 2022, the Partnership for Water Sustainability honoured Brian Carruthers with a Lifetime Membership in recognition of his stalwart support for the Partnership in his role as Chief Administrative Officer (2014-2022) of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Brian Carruthers career in government spans 40 years. He spent the first 20 years with BC Parks, supervising and managing operations in some of the largest and busiest provincial parks in BC. In 2001, he switched to local government, and served as both a municipal and regional district CAO in the Kootenay Boundary, North Central and Vancouver Island/Coast regions of BC.
Living and working in communities across the province, Brian has gained a deep understanding and appreciation for the unique opportunities and challenges facing regional districts and small to medium size communities.
Kim Stephens (on the right) presented the LIFETIME MEMBER certificate of recognition to Brian Carruthers (on the left). Scenic Cowichan Bay is the backdrop.
Brian Carruthers is a Champion Supporter of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative
“Cowichan Valley Regional District experience has influenced core content for provincial guidance documents and curricula for training sessions, workshops and seminars held around the province and delivered by the Partnership for Water Sustainability under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.
“CVRD collaboration with the Partnership has been supported by successive Regional Boards and Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs). Their support is the essence of handing off the baton from one administration to the next over five election terms and three CAOs, namely – Frank Raimondo (2006-2007), Warren Jones (2008-2014), and Brian Carruthers (2014-2022).”
“Support by elected representatives and staff for program elements delivered by the Partnership (through initiatives such as the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative) enables the Partnership to foster and support collaborative leadership among participating local governments. In turn, that builds bridges of understanding through intergenerational collaboration.”
“For almost decade, stalwart support by Brian Caruthers has been a critical success factor in building momentum for a whole-system approach to water resource management,” concludes Kim Stephens.
A Window into the Cowichan Water Journey
“I had a real incentive to come to the CVRD in 2014 because water was the primary focus. I was really impressed by the CVRD’s work in terms of water, the Cowichan Watershed Board, and protection of the Cowichan watershed,” states Brian Carruthers.
“It made it intriguing for me because I came from a regional district that had no desire to be involved in those kinds of things. When I started at CVRD, the region was in the midst of a watershed governance study. It was looking at how the CVRD could take a more active role in watershed governance.”
“The Board Chair and I did tours of First Nations communities and met with their chiefs and councils around the intent of this initiative and what would their interest be. We realized that this was bigger than we could take on at that time. Instead, we turned our attention to the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection (DWWP) model for a regional service.”
“It is a story of ups and downs. Running into obstacles and resistance, whether in the community or at the Board table, but always keeping the end-result in mind: making sure we have enough water in our region to satisfy a growing region. And that outcome is what always kept us focused on moving drinking water and watershed protection forward.”
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Note to Reader:
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is a non-profit society that delivers services in collaboration with government. . Operationally, however, the Partnership functions as the hub for a network that is guided by the collaborative leadership model. This approach reflects the Partnership genesis, first as a technical committee and then as a roundtable.
The Champion Supporter designation is the Partnership’s way of formally recognizing organizations whose enduring commitment enables the Partnership to foster and support collaborative leadership in the local government setting by “convening for action” in the interests of the common good.
Mayor Colin Basran (L) and Kim Stephens (R), Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC
City of Kelowna is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership for Water Sustainability
“The City of Kelowna was a founding member of the original inter-governmental Water Balance Model Partnership that morphed into the Partnership, a legal entity, more than a decade ago. This scenario modelling and decision support tool was developed as an extension of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in June 2002 by the provincial government,” stated Kim Stephens, when he presented the certificate of recognition to Mayor Colin Basran.
“Kelowna was one of a select group of local governments whose case study experience was incorporated in the Guidebook. It is therefore timely that we will shortly be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Guidebook. The occasion is an opportune time to highlight the City’s valued contribution.”
City’s contribution to the BC Landscape Water Calculator
“In the early years, a succession of City staff supported and/or contributed to the work of the Partnership. With retirements and departures, however, there was an interruption in the relationship until Alan Newcombe returned in 2014 and initiated a process of re-engagement,” continued Kim Stephens,
“Most recently, the City of Kelowna stepped up to be in the first cohort of local government partners to operationalize the BC Landscape Water Calculator in three regions (Okanagan, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island).”
“With each application, there is a new twist. Each time, we evolve the tool to meet the needs of our partners. Everyone benefits. This is the power of the collaborative approach. The Kelowna version is oriented to contractors who must submit reports as a requirement of the QWEL program.
Landscape Water Conservation Reporting in Kelowna
“Over the past decade, collaboration with the City of Kelowna was a natural fit to both build the BC Landscape Water Calculator and undertake a pilot demonstration application,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Partnership President in June 2021.
“The City has implemented innovative approaches to management of water use and landscape irrigation, such as the QWEL program. The City has an oversight system in place to ensure that landscape design and irrigation design work together to achieve water efficiency.”
“QWEL, the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certification program, is a great way for homeowners to ensure that landscape and irrigation contractors have water conservation in mind, consider native landscape material, and provide top notch workmanship in their services,” adds Ed Hoppe, Water Quality and Customer Care Supervisor, City of Kelowna.
“The City’s approval process for integration of landscape and irrigation system design is keyed to three requirements. First, use of turf-grass is limited to a maximum of 60% of the site. Secondly, irrigation systems must be sized so that water use would not exceed the allowable annual water budget. Thirdly, a Landscape Water Conservation Report must be submitted for the City’s approval.”
Comments Off on 2021 Annual Report for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
Note to Reader:
The Partnership’s Annual Report 2021 is written as a communication tool to present a big picture look at the work of The Partnership. The format comprises a set of “30-second takeaways” to illustrate the breadth and depth of initiatives and programs. Click on the cover image below to download a copy of the document.
The Living Water Smart Network is guided by a shared vision.
By pulling threads of understanding from the past through to the present and future, it would help communities reconnect people, fish, land and water in altered landscapes.
Are you, the reader, curious about “the story behind the story” of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia? If so, continue reading. You will learn who we are, what we represent, how we came to be, and why we are committed to an intergenerational mission.
A Non-Profit that Provides Services to Government
The Partnership is a registered non-profit society, a legal entity. Operationally, however, we function as the hub for a network in the local government setting – the Living Water Smart Network. We are guided by the collaborative leadership model. An over-arching goal of collaboration is to align efforts around a shared vision for “settlement, economy and ecology in balance”.
This approach reflects The Partnership genesis, first as a technical committee and then as a roundtable, before morphing into the present non-profit legal entity. We are growing the Living Water Smart Network. We are not building a conventional organization.
Collaborative leadership uses thepower of influence rather than positional authority to engage and align individuals and organizations within a network, and deliver results across organizational boundaries.
The network is the ultimate source of strength of The Partnership. The network also holds the key to intergenerational collaboration. It is how we build bridges of understanding and pass the baton from the past to the present and future.
For The Partnership to be successful in facilitating changes in practice over the long-term, the hard work must be done by our partners. This means the work of The Partnership must be aligned with and support their organizational aspirations and objectives.
“At the beginning of 2021, the Partnership leadership reflected on our long-term commitment to collaborative leadership and growing a network. From the outset, we had vowed never to fall into the trap of concentrating our energies on building an organization and thus losing sight of “the mission”. This view of the world reflected our history as a roundtable,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“Are there other precedents for our approach, we wondered? Or are we unique? In 2015, for example, United States Senator Patrick Leahy reached out to The Partnership to provide an inspirational address at his 2nd Environmental Summit held in Burlington, Vermont. When I asked why they approached us, the summit organizers responded that they could find nothing in North America comparable to what The Partnership is doing.”
“Although our Vermont experience provided anecdotal evidence, we decided it was time to research the social science literature to definitively answer this question: Has anyone else tried to do what we have been doing for the past two decades under the “collaboration umbrella” that is theWater Sustainability Action Plan? “
Is Our Experience Unique?
“Mike Tanner, a founding Director, took on the research task. He found the groundbreaking paper co-authored by Dr. Jane Wei Stillern in 2008. Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, her work provided us with the textbook reference to describe what we are doing intuitively!”
“Fast forward to October 2021. The Partnership leadership reached out to Jane via email. We wanted to learn more about her research findings. Jane responded within minutes. Were we ever impressed. Within days, we met via Zoom. Jane kicked off the conversation by telling us that she had heard about the work of the Partnership and had long wanted to connect with us.”
“The focus of Jane’s research is on non-government organizations (NGOs). The Partnership is unique in that our main focus is on evolving a network that is government-based. Governments, especially local governments, are also nonprofits. From experience, we can draw the conclusion that the research findings for an NGO-based network apply equally well to the Partnership’s government-based network.”
“Jane Wei Stillern introduced us to a set of four counter-intuitive principles that are critical to collaboration success. Her findings offer insights into how champions in the local government and stream stewardship sectors can ensure that their collaborative efforts can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts.”
Principles for Effective Networks
Focus on mission before organization. Effective network leaders build strategies that advance the mission even when it does not result in direct benefits to their organization.
Build partnerships based on trust, not control. Leaders depend upon shared values and trust rather than top-down controls and accountability systems.
Promote others rather than yourself.Network leaders exhibit a strong norm of humility above all else, sharing credit and foregoing opportunities for individual advancement and institutional growth and brand building.
Build constellations rather than lone stars. Leaders who catalyze successful networks acknowledge their weaknesses as readily as their strengths. The goal is to build the larger system that is necessary for delivering on the mission, not to become the “market leader”.
JANE WEU-SKILLERN’S RESEARCH WORK IS GUIDED BY THIS MISSION STATEMENT: “To champion network leaders, and the networks that they serve, to nurture change on the challenges that dwarf us all.”
“Based on fifteen years of research on successful networks across a range of fields and contexts, and more than two centuries of collective experience of nonprofit network leaders themselves, the four counter-intuitive principles are the common norms that effective networks have in common,” states Dr. Jane Wei-Skillern.
“They challenge us to examine the characteristics of our own collaborations and they provide guidance on how to ensure that the impact of our collective work is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts.”
Intergenerational Context for the Living Water Smart Network
2021-An Extraordinary Year Reflections by Ted van der Gulik, Partnership President
Looking back, 2021 is an extraordinary year of accomplishment for the Partnership. We continued to elevate our game and in so doing demonstrated what is possible. We provided leadership for a range of initiatives of provincial importance. These four stand out:
Groundwater Licensing is a cornerstone of the Water Sustainability Act. It is the biggest endeavour the Province of BC has taken on in its water management history.
EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is game-changing. It provides local governments with a methodology and metrics to integrate stream corridor systems within Asset Management Budgets.
BC Landscape Water Calculator is aligned with the next iteration of the provincial government’s Water Conservation Condition. This is the contractual mechanism for infrastructure grants.
Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy whose time has come. Interweaving Indigenous knowledge and Western science would be the foundation for a whole-system approach to Water Reconciliation.
These successes were achieved through the power of collaborative leadership. The process involves bringing the right people together in constructive ways with good information, such that they create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of their organizations and communities.
Looking ahead to 2022, the Partnership and our partners in the Living Water Smart Network are poised to build on these breakthrough initiatives. We will also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columba. The Partnership is the steward for the Guidebook.
In 2022, the Partnership will publish the fourth in the Beyond the Guidebook series of guidance documents. Tentatively titled Flowing Towards “Water Reconciliation” within the Georgia Basin/Salish Sea, Beyond the Guidebook 2022 will showcase parallel streams of effort by our local government partners in five sub-regions over the past two decades. This work is ongoing under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative, launched in 2012.
In mid-September 2021, The Partnership released a Groundwater Licensing Primer that laid out WHAT must happen to rectify a chaotic situation, provide a dedicated budget, and get groundwater licensing implementation back on track.
EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process:
The goal of making the financial case for the stream has been realized through a systematic process founded on case study applications. A notable outcome is Riparian Deficit, a new way of defining “loss of riparian integrity”.
BC Landscape Water Calculator:
BC’s new reality is longer, drier summers. Targeting seasonal outdoor water use represents the best opportunity to achieve “water use in balance with a changing water cycle”.
Blue Ecology / Water Reconciliation:
More than a decade ago, international recognition gave Michael Blackstock’s Blue Ecology research early credibility and profile. The initiative is guided by a vision to build a bridge between two cultures through a water-first approach.
Launched in 2012, the IREI facilitates peer-based education among local governments located on the east coast of Vancouver and in the Lower Mainland. In 2016, five Regional Boards – Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo Region, Comox Valley, Capital Region, and Metro Vancouver – recommitted through 2021 to collaborate and work as a team. 2022 is the 10th anniversary of the IREI.
About the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC
Incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia as a not-for-profit society on November 19, 2010 was a milestone moment. Incorporation signified a bold leap forward. The Partnership evolved from a technical committee in the 1990s, to a “water roundtable” in the first decade of the 2000s, and then to a legal entity. The Partnership has its roots in government – local, provincial, federal.
Conceptual Framework for Inter-Generational Collaboration
Technical knowledge alone is not enough to resolve water challenges facing BC. Making things happen in the real world requires an appreciation and understanding of human behaviour, combined with a knowledge of how decisions are made. It takes a career to figure this out.
The Partnership has a primary goal, to build bridges of understanding and pass the baton from the past to the present and future. To achieve the goal, the Partnership is growing a network in the local government setting. This network embraces collaborative leadership and inter-generational collaboration.
Application of Experience, Knowledge and Wisdom
The Partnership believes that when each generation is receptive to accepting the inter-generational baton and embracing the wisdom that goes with it, the decisions of successive generations will benefit from and build upon the experience of those who went before them.
The Partnership leadership team brings experience, knowledge, and wisdom – a forceful combination to help collaborators reach their vision, mission, and goals for achieving water sustainability. When they are successful, the Partnership is successful.
The Time Continuum graphic(above) conceptualizes the way of thinking that underpins the inter-generational mission of the Partnership for Water Sustainability. Influence choices. Capitalize on the REACHABLE and TEACHABLE MOMENTS to influence choices.
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Mayor Henry Braun, City of Abbotsford, and Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (October 2021)
City of Abbotsford is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership for Water Sustainability
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is a non-profit society that delivers services in collaboration with government. . Operationally, however, the Partnership functions as the hub for a network that is guided by the collaborative leadership model. This approach reflects the Partnership genesis, first as a technical committee and then as a roundtable. The Partnership is growing the network rather than building a conventional organization.
The Champion Supporter designation is the Partnership’s way of formally recognizing organizations whose enduring commitment enables the Partnership to foster and support collaborative leadership in the local government setting by “convening for action” in the interests of the common good.
“The City of Abbotsford was a founding member of the original inter-governmental Water Balance Model Partnership that morphed into the Partnership, a legal entity, more than a decade ago. Beginning in 2002, a succession of City staff has supported and/or contributed to the work of the Partnership. For some time, Stella Chiu and Amy Peters have been steadfast in their support,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Partnership President, when he presented Champion Supporter certificate of recognition to Mayor Henry Braun.
“Most recently, the City of Abbotsford stepped up to be in the first cohort of local government partners to operationalize the BC Landscape Water Calculator in three regions (Okanagan, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island). With each application, there is a new twist. Each time, we evolve the tool to meet the needs of our partners. Everyone benefits.”
“This is the power of the collaborative approach. The Abbotsford contribution was a database of common water-wise plants that can be used towards the City’s Water Wise Landscape Rebate Program. An important feature of the BC Landscape Water Calculator is how the dropdown settings guide the user selection of native and water efficient plants depending on whether planting locations are in the sun, shade, or a combination.”
Outdoor Water Use in Balance with a Changing Water Cycle
“I started with the City of Abbotsford in 2010 at a time when water conservation was really ramping up because of high peak demands in the late 2000s,” recalled Amy Peters. She coordinates the City’s water conservation program.
A regional bulk water supply system serves the City of Abbotsford (south side of Fraser River) and District of Mission (north side of the river). The principal supply source is Norrish Creek/Dickson Lake.
Context for Water Use Efficiency
“Because the Fraser Valley’s population had been (and still is) growing so fast, our peak demands were getting quite high a decade ago. In addition to looking for a new water source, the City’s immediate priority was to target peak demands to reduce total water use.”
“In 2011, Abbotsford became the first municipality in Canada to implement Advanced Metering Infrastructure (smart meters). Soon after, the City switched from an annual water billing to bi-monthly billing.”
“We were really lucky. Implementation of the smart meters combined with the changes in billing made a massive difference. We saw a 20 to 30 percent drop in peak demand! This level has held steady over the past decade and bought us time to explore different source options.”
You Manage What You Can Measure
“In 2011, the City looked at options to reduce peak water demands due to the high cost of a new water source. This included conservation, optimizing existing sources and system efficiencies. Several different conservation programs were explored, one of the programs implemented was a voluntary program for irrigation and landscape water efficiency,” continued Amy Peters.
IRRIGATION AND LANDSCAPE WATER EFFICIENCY PROGRAM:
“This program involved doing assessments of individual properties. Because they were in-depth, the assessments took a lot of time. We did not know whether the impact was great or small. Our rationale was that it is more about building awareness.”
“These assessments led homeowners to ask for incentives. In turn, this led to the rebate program. And so, we wanted to find a way to evaluate the program and demonstrate that there were water savings.”
“The solution to our need was the BC Landscape Water Calculator. The value of the calculator is that homeowners can now provide us with a report that shows how their choice of water efficient plants and landscape design meets their water budget. The report is the basis for payment of a rebate.”
MANAGING PEAK WATER DEMAND:
“The City sees the BC Landscape Water Calculator in helping us manage our peak demand. It really is about building the awareness through education. I like that the calculator will be able to show people just how much they can reduce their water use.”
“Many homeowners are now familiar with how much they are using because the number is on their utility bill. It really is important that they be able to see how much outdoor water use contributes to their total water demand. The BC Landscape Water Calculator does this.”
CONVERSION OF LAWNS TO WATER EFFICIENT LANDSCAPES:
“I have been looking at different ways to market water conservation. It is something that I really want to focus on. We already have sprinkler patrols, the main purpose of which is education. The patrol members also talk to homeowners about the Irrigation and Landscape Program.”
“We are encouraging people to transform their front yards by replacing grass with water efficient plants. We are promoting both water efficient and native plants. The BC Landscape Water Calculator provides them with choices for both. An unintended outcome of customizing the tool for Abbotsford is in the way it gives homeowners direction for plant selection. This is powerful.”
Comments Off on CHAMPION SUPPORTER: recognition of eVision Media for design and enhancement of waterbucket.ca website to showcase success stories and celebrate champions who lead by example (October 2021)
Note to Reader:
The Partnership for Water Sustainability has a decade-long working relationship with eVision Media. Collaboration-based, this relationship has involved two re-builds of the waterbucket.ca website – in 2012 and then again in 2017.
Kim Stephens presented the Champion Supporter certificate of recognition to Susan Friesen, founder of eVision Media, in October 2021
Vision for Waterbucket.ca Website
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability values everything that Susan Friesen and her staff have done for the past decade to help us ensure the success of the waterbucket.ca website. It is a powerhouse website with a great look-and-feel. Susan’s support of the Partnership over many years means a lot to us,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, when he presented the framed Champion Supporter certificate of recognition.”
“The vision for the waterbucket.ca website is that it will inform and educate land use, infrastructure servicing, and asset management practitioners by providing easy access to information, tools and resources. Many in this province do know in principle what they ought to do. However, there is still a gap between UNDERSTANDING and IMPLEMENTATION. This results in a capacity-building challenge. Hence, the waterbucket.ca spotlight is on how to ‘bridge the gap’ between talk and action. That is mission possible,” continued Mike Tanner, Chair, waterbucket.ca website.
“The level of service and the rapid response when there is a website glitch to be fixed is amazing. Whether on a week day or during the weekend, and regardless of time of the day, all I need do is send an email to eVision staff and waterbucket.ca functionality will be immediately restored to normal,” concluded Kim Stephens.
Flashback to 2017
“We truly appreciate the recognition. Working with the Partnership Executive is always a pleasure. In 2017, for example, we were excited to have the opportunity to give their tired old site a fresh, new look with enhanced features,” stated Susan Friesen, Web Specialist and Social Media Advisor with eVision Media.
“Knowing the waterbucket.ca user-base was wanting to find information easily, we redesigned the home page with not only a more contemporary look and feel but also to facilitate it being a portal to all of the different content-rich sections of the site.
“Now site users can enjoy a faster, easier and mobile-friendly experience to conduct their research and become more informed with the valuable resources the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC provides.”
Comments Off on WATCH THE VIDEO: “The Partnership for Water Sustainability has its roots in government – provincial, federal, and most importantly, local government. Over three decades, the Partnership has evolved – from a technical committee in the 1990s,to a water roundtable in the first decade of the 2000s, to a legal entity in 2010,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director, in his remarks as part of the Bowen Island Climate Conversation (July 2021)
Water and a Changing Climate: Drought Affects Us All
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability has its roots in government – provincial, federal, and most importantly, local government. Over three decades, the Partnership has evolved – from a technical committee in the 1990s,to a water roundtable in the first decade of the 2000s, to a legal entity in 2010,” stated Kim Stephens. Partnership Executive Director, in his opening remarks at Bowen Island Municipality’s Climate Conversations in July 2021. The theme for the virtual workshop session was Climate Conversation: Water Conservation Innovation.
“Incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability as a non-profit society allows us to carry on the Living Water Smart mission. We are growing a network, not building an organization. In terms of my professional career as a water resource engineer and planner, I have been in the right place at the right time, and with the right people.”
“In a nutshell, my responsibilities revolve around delivering the Water Sustainability Action Plan through partnerships and collaboration, through a local government network. This background provides me with context and perspective regarding how the local water balance is changing due to global changes in the water cycle, and what BC communities must do to adapt.”
Growing a Network Through Collaborative Leadership
“Collaborative leadership uses the power of influence rather than positional authorityto engage and align individuals and organizations within a network, and deliver results across organizational boundaries. Success depends on creating an environment of trust, mutual respect, and shared aspiration in which all the players can contribute to achieving collective goals.”
“A long career provides perspective. In my five decades as water resource planner and engineer, there are three years that really stand out in British Columbia when the topic is water conservation,”
“After what in respect was a benign half-century, 1987 was British Columbia’s first wake up call. The drought was unprecedented in living memory. Few people are aware that the Metro Vancouver region came within two weeks of the water storage dams being completely empty. There was no Plan B. All anyone could do was hope the rains would come in November. And they did. The downpour on November 2, 1987 broke the drought.”
“The 1987 drought was a defining moment in that it started changing the conversation about water conservation in BC from folks asking why should we even c0nsider using less water, to a consensus emerging that we do need match water demand to water supply. But it took until 1992, after we experienced our third drought, before people stopped asking the why question.”
Truly Teachable Years
“But it was 2003 that truly was what we call ‘the teachable year.’ The Okanagan Valley was on fire, about 27,000 people were evacuated from the City of Kelowna, and several hundred homes were lost. This really got the attention of British Columbians that the climate was indeed changing. It was the 2003 teachable year that created the opportunity for the Partnership to develop and implement the Water Sustainability Plan for British Columbia through partnerships and collaboration. My Action Plan responsibilities continue to this day.”
“In 2015, the West Coast of North America crossed an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime. And it has happened faster than anyone expected. Our new reality is longer, drier summers. A generation ago, water supply managers could reasonably anticipate that three months of water storage would be sufficient to maintain supply during a drought summer. Today, however, a 6-month drought is a very real likelihood. It is necessary to plan accordingly. Communities need double the storage volume.”
Watch the YouTube Video!
To view the presentation by Kim Stephens, watch the 28-minute segment that begins at the 6-minute and concludes at the 34-minute mark. And if you wish to learn about drought-tolerant plants, continue watching to learn from the experience of Kathy Leishman of the Bowen Island Garden Club who says:
“Our garden has developed into two areas, with each having a different focus. The seaside area was planned to be drought tolerant and deer resistant, and has certainly been the most interesting area. Lots of testing and learning going on, even after 23 years! The north side of the house is fenced, and more conventional in planting.”
In 2021, the Partnership honoured Deborah Jones as a Lifetime Member due to her extraordinary contributions that “make real” the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia by implementing “design with nature” solutions that reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes.
Deborah Jones, Rain Garden Champion
Deborah Jones has a BA in Urban Studies, a Masters of Library Science, and worked for Vancouver Public Library for over 30 years.
She and husband Ib Nielsen joined Cougar Creek Streamkeepers in 2004, after noticing illegal tree-cutting on the banks of North Delta’s most productive salmon stream. They put their gardening experience to work on a restoration planting project along that streambank — which gave them many opportunities to observe the impacts of urban runoff close-up, as it poured directly into Cougar Creek at Scott Road from nearby malls, streets and residential areas.
These observations in turn inspired Deb’s request to the Corporation (now City) of Delta, for a stormwater infiltration pilot project — a request that materialized in 2006 as Cougar Canyon Elementary School Rain Garden, under the leadership of then-Manager of Utilities Hugh Fraser and urban landscape designer Sarah Howie.
With support from Mayor & Council, that project was followed by many more. Deb now serves as volunteer Rain Gardens Coordinator for the Streamkeepers, overseeing the maintenance of 29 school and community rain gardens that were installed in collaboration with the City of Delta, Delta School District, Pacific Salmon Foundation, BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Nature Trust of BC and others. She also advises the Nature Trust and Be the Change Earth Alliance on their rain garden programs.
Deb is a source of inspiration for many stewardship groups, both in the Metro Vancouver region and on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
The photo is the Trent Street Rain Garden, the City of Victoria’s flagship rain garden.
Delta’s Rain Garden Program for Urban Landscape Enhancement: Sustaining the Legacy through the Second Decade and Beyond
“Looking back, I see now that the rain garden program evolved gradually, in the manner of any good garden — from early conversations in 1999, through the first rain garden in 2006, to the 29 school and community rain gardens in 2019,” Deborah Jones stated in a moment of reflection. “The rain garden at Cougar Canyon Elementary School established a precedent for citizen science in action in Delta. Twenty-eight similar collaborative projects followed during the period 2009 through 2019. There have also been many City-only projects where there has been no volunteer participation.”
“The City of Delta has a long history of working closely with the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers on projects that improve watershed conditions,” Mayor George Harvie, City of Delta.
“One example of this is the highly successful rain garden program, which has not only increased stormwater infiltration in our urban areas but has also created beautiful amenities in the community.
“The close collaboration between the City, the Streamkeepers, other volunteers and the Delta School District is what has allowed the rain garden program to persist for 15 years. I look forward to encouraging these types of projects in the years to come.”
An Implementation Perspective
“The ‘pioneering’ days of Delta’s rain garden program were a great time of trial and error. We enjoyed the creative challenges of figuring out ways to work around underground utilities, move water across sidewalks and down slopes, deal with unexpected high water tables and poor drainage, and predict which plants would survive the particular site conditions of each garden,” continued Dr. Sarah Howie, Office of Climate Action & Environment, City of Delta. Dr. Howie, a landscape architect, was originally hired by Delta Engineering and partnered with an engineer to form a rain garden design team. This was a precedent-setting action.
“The most interesting part of designing rain gardens was that every single garden was unique to the site, so there were no cookie-cutter designs. We always got to try something new. If it worked out, we would use the best elements in the next garden, in a process of continual refinement.
“The success of Delta’s rain garden program is largely thanks to the leadership and committed involvement of the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers. Their energetic and dedicated volunteers keep the rain gardens functional and beautiful, which gives the city confidence to do more of these types of projects.”
Cougar Canyon Elementary School – the first rain garden project organized by Deborah Jones
Comments Off on Lifetime Member – Dr. Kim Hyatt (inducted in 2021)
Note to Reader:
Dr. Kim Hyatt, passed peacefully away on May 25, 2021 with his family and closest friend by his side, following a battle with a very aggressive cancer. Although Kim was on medical leave during this battle, he still remained committed and connected to the many research projects under his leadership; a sign of his dedication to his team and his work. Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Kim or even seeing him speak at meetings or conferences would instantly recognize Kim’s personal commitment and passion for his work and for a greater understanding of salmon.
Kim made significant contributions to the department in many areas including the Wild Salmon Policy, advice relating to the Columbia River Treaty, and climate change impacts to salmon populations. His passion for discovery and excitement for innovation resulted in a number of long-standing relationships with First Nations and external organizations, relationships that Kim built on trust, commitment, and honest communication. His scientific prowess, leadership, and good humor will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
A Tribute by Nick Leone (recently retired from the Department of Fisheries & Oceans) and Dr. Peter Tschaplinski (BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy)
Sadly, the Canadian Scientific Community lost a significant and vital member in late May with the passing of Dr. Kim Hyatt, Scientist & Researcher for Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station.
Kim was by, formal education and experience, an Aquatic Ecologist. He was a recognized and influential force in helping to guide and advance our knowledge and understanding of ecosystem dynamics, climate change & species evolution and adaptation of Pacific Salmon to shifts in their natural environment.
Kim worked for the Science Branch of DFO Pacific Region for 40-plus years, leading numerous applied research programs. He was a sought-after Scientist-Expert Advisor on several multi-jurisdictional water management and salmon stock recovery initiatives, including those on Vancouver Island and the Okanagan & Columbia River Basins (US-Canada Columbia Basin Treaty).
Kim played a foundational role on the development of Fisheries & Oceans Canada Wild Salmon Policy (WSP), often considered the contemporary blueprint for salmon conservation and management. Kim was further instrumental in advancing our knowledge of large lake systems nutrient cycling/dynamics, and assessment of the application of supplemental fertilization as a management tool for enhancing sockeye productivity.
Additionally, Kim working in collaboration with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, was a driving influence on development of the Risk Assessment Methodology for Salmon (RAMs), an emerging management tool linked to the WSP, integrating influential landscape processes with the complex life-histories of Pacific Salmon populations, their limiting factors & productivity.
The RAMs process continues to evolve as an important Salmon Management tool, promoting collaboration with conservation and stakeholder interests and combining Science with Indigenous-Traditional & Community-based knowledge. Most recently and while continuing with his numerous other duties, Kim graciously agreed to come aboard as a team member to support the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate (“The Watershed Moment Series”) because its unifying theme, Reconnecting Hydrology and Stream Ecology, aligned with Kim’s expertise and passion.
The series is dedicated to profiling and promoting the integration of applied research, community science and collaboration across government levels, and in partnership with community conservation and stewardship interests.
Kim Hyatt’s profound understanding of the complexities of ecosystems and the myriad interconnections in our greater environment that sustain all life including humanity was rare, insightful, and valued. Perhaps and arguably most notably however, Kim was a genuine, generous, and wonderful person with a gift to readily translate scientific knowledge into understandable, relatable terms – to advance the concepts and principles for application for science-based management.
Although Kim will most certainly be remembered as a brilliant Scientist and Researcher, it was fundamentally Kim’s character, his person, insight, wit and wry humor and ability to communicate and engage people that will undoubtedly hold equal measure.
Kim was also a close and dear friend with so many of his colleagues – compassionate, authentic, steadfast and dependable. To find such qualities in an individual is rare and certainly special, and indeed Kim was just that. Our hearts & thoughts go with Kim and his family.
Like many, we were fortunate to have known and worked with Kim, and through this relationship, hope to honor him through the ongoing efforts and initiatives of PWSBC in applying the insights and wisdom he so willingly and graciously shared in a field he held so much passion for. He will be dearly missed. Kim is survived by his three sons and their families, including seven grandchildren. Kim was predeceased by his wife Annis.
Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series: In the third module, broadcast in December 2020, viewers learned that looking through the salmon lens reminds us of the critical requirement for reconnection between federal and provincial government agencies to collaborate in undertaking a challenging mission for which they share authority
The ‘salmon crisis’ of the 1990s galvanized federal-provincial action, cross-border collaboration, and pioneer research. Now, the International Year of the Salmon program is a potential game-changer because it is the springboard to inspire a new generation of researchers, managers and conservationists to take the baton and collaborate to reconnect fish, people and the landscape.
Dr. Kim Hyatt and Dr. Peter Tschaplinski, two senior research scientists, headlined the finale module in the Video Trilogy Series. They shared their federal and provincial perspectives, respectively. They embodied a wealth of fisheries-related knowledge. The experience of this engaging duo dated back to the 1970s. Thus, they did know of what they spoke!
Inspire Communities to Mobilize to Do Better
“From an IYS perspective, large efforts of a very large mass of people around the rims of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and likely Arctic oceans will need to ‘come together’ for any real change to occur,” said Dr. Kim Hyatt.
“From this perspective, the requirement in an increasingly interconnected world is closer to ‘humankind’ than to a few of us in the local community. That said, it’s the sum of us in local communities that will move this closer to a humankind undertaking. At every scale, there are challenges and solutions that are going to need to be embraced. We have the thinking figured out. We can take lessons learned and bring them back to our regional and local context, and inspire people to do better.”
“How do we encapsulate the human element? It is not just our impact on things. It is much more. It is our behaviour. It is how our behaviour has changed over the decades. We are trying to make things better,” added Dr. Peter Tschaplinski. “The way we are managing really goes well with the designing with nature concept. We are part of nature. We are part of the ecosystem. We have a big effect because there are so many of us. We change the landscape profoundly. But we are still part it.”
Federal – Provincial Team for 3rd Module in Watershed Moments Series:
The YouTube video of the eulogy by Nick Leone when he informed the Watershed Moments Team of the passing of Kim Hyatt: