The early and strong support of Debra Oakman for demonstrating the benefits of the ‘regional team approach’ in the Comox Valley was a key to the success of CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. Her support helped to lay the foundation for successfully launching the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative in 2012. Comox Valley activities and successes have stimulated interest and action in the vision for “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”.
Design with nature, a whole-system approach, learn by doing and adapt. These three phrases capture the essence of how the Township builds neighbourhoods. “There are many staff members that have made this happen,” stated Mayor Jack Froese. “Council makes policy and we approve policies. And then it is our wonderful staff that carry out the policies. And so, I certainly want to recognize the work that they have done.”
“The Regional District of Nanaimo’s water sustainability goals have meshed very well with those of the Partnership over the many years we have worked together. The working relationship enhances the ability of both organizations to reach their common goals in water sustainability while supporting each other. A highlight of that relationship was being part of the Inter Regional Education Initiative, an excellent forum for learning and passing on hard won experience,” stated Mike Donnelly.
A Testimonial to the Partnership for Water Sustainability: “Thanks for your tireless efforts to spread an understanding of hydrology and watershed-based land management!”, wrote Deborah Jones (Jan 2017)
Healthy forests are the backbone of watersheds. Forests of high biodiversity act like a sponge, which holds water on the land and allows clean filtered water into streams and rivers. This helps to ensure healthy fisheries. Unhealthy watersheds tend to have low biodiversity. Water is not retained on the land and erosion is increased. This results in unhealthy stream, river and fisheries and communities.
“Because groundwater licencing is a requirement under the Water Sustainability Act, the Province looked to the Partnership to develop an agriculture water licencing tool,” wrote Ted van der Gulik. “The tool went live on February 29th and is now being used by those applying for a water licence as well as the water licence adjudicators. Additions that have been added to the tool include groundwater and watershed boundaries.”
“The journey to a water-resilient future would be guided by Cathedral Thinking,” states Kim Stephens. “The concept dates back to medieval times. It aptly describes the inter-generational commitment that would be required to achieve a ‘design with nature’ vision – one that integrates water balance solutions into land use decisions, and restores ecosystem values.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is recognized for the leadership that its Drinking Water & Watershed Program is providing. Success is helping to foster a new ‘land ethic’ among land and water practitioners in the region. Bill Veenhof (photo), RDN Chair, thanked the Partnership’s Kim Stephens for providing the RDN Board with an appreciation of how the RDN program is helping other regions overcome the disconnect between information and implementation.
“In other regions, notably California, they think of droughts in terms of number of years. In the Georgia Basin (Southwest BC), we measure droughts in terms of number of months. As we have increasingly experienced in recent decades, three months versus either four or five months of essentially rain-free weather makes a material difference from a water supply perspective,” stated Kim Stephens.
“It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing. This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask ‘what will this community look like in 50 years’, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years,” stated Mayor Lois Jackson.
2015 AGM – “Feast AND Famine Workshop” attracts a large crowd to celebrate the 5th anniversary of incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC
Bob Sandford, water champion and author, was the keynote speaker for the workshop that was built around the AGM. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” stated Bob Sandford.