banner

Convening for Action in British Columbia

What happens on the land matters. Apply ‘cathedral thinking’ – a far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and a shared commitment to inter-generational implementation – to create a lasting water sustainability legacy. Convening for Action is a British Columbia process that is about moving from defining the problems (the ‘what’), to determining options (the ‘so what’), to taking action to achieve results (the ‘now what’), and after that, to replicating in other communities (the ‘then what’).

Latest Posts

WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN: Community-of-practice for ‘Convening for Action in British Columbia’ – “Having the waterbucket.ca website as a communication platform allows the Action Plan partners to ‘tell our story’ and ‘record our history’ as a work-in-progress,” stated Ray Fung (2006)


“Convening for Action is a provincial initiative that supports innovation on-the-ground. From the perspective of those leading and/or participating in regional programs, having this community-of-interest provides the opportunity to ‘tell our story’ and ‘record our history’ as a work-in-progress,” states Ray Fung. “It will turn ideas into action by building capacity and understanding regarding integration of long-term, strategic planning and the implementation of physical infrastructure.”

Read Article

DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia – Our Story (March 2018)


“Future planners, engineers, scientists, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism, working as a team towards consensus, commitment and collaboration for the common good. Such collaboration is essential and must cross all political and community boundaries given that climate change is no respecter of such creations. The Partnership has accepted this challenge and its implementation,” stated Eric Bonham.

Read Article

Green, Heal and Restore the Earth: Ian McHarg’s “Design with Nature” vision has influenced implementation of British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Action Plan


In his 1969 book, Design With Nature, Ian McHarg pioneered the concept of environmental planning. “So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!,” wrote Ian McHarg.

Read Article

ARTICLE: Natural Assets as Ecological Systems and Services: What do you know or wonder about the EAP and MNAI missions? (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2020)


“The two initiatives are outcomes flowing from the tireless determination of two pioneers, EAP Chair Tim Pringle and MNAI Chair Emanuel Machado, to transform how local governments view ecological systems and the services they provide. Development of both MNAI and EAP began around 2015. Actually translating policy objectives into tangible outcomes requires that local governments have a methodology and metrics for valuing ecological assets and services in an asset management strategy,” wrote Kim Stephens.

Read Article

PLANNING FOR WATER RESILIENCY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “A longstanding goal of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is to find a balance between supporting those local governments who are leaders, while over time raising the bar to encourage the rest,” states Brian Bedford, A/Executive Director, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing


“The bar has been raised and no longer can a local government simply state in an application that they have a Water Conservation Plan endorsed by Council or Board resolution. Now, when a grant application is submitted, the Ministry asks for confirmation that an up-to-date plan has been approved by Council or Board resolution within the last 5 years. It is in the look ahead that one can foresee the opportunity for a local government to identify what role the BC Landscape Water Calculator could play in achieving water conservation targets and further reducing water use in the community,” states Brian Bedford.

Read Article

LEADING CHANGE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The Town of Gibson’s demonstrated commitment to achieving a shared vision regarding the role of natural assets in providing core municipal services is vitally important to the Partnership’s capability to carry out our mission” – Partnership for Water Sustainability recognizes Town as one its Champion Supporters in a presentation to Mayor and Council (September 2020)


“This award is really recognition of our staff, in particular our CAO, and the work that he and others have done in this very important area. The current Council was elected in 2018 and we are continually being educated in terms of natural assets and natural assets management. It is a true feather in the cap of the Town of Gibsons that we are getting recognition outside the community. At some point, I hope that (the Town’s accomplishments) will be recognized as strongly within the community. There is still work to be done in that area,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish.

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2009: The Water Conservation Calculator, an online tool, was unveiled by the BC provincial government at a national conference. What was the goal in developing the tool? Align provincial grant programs with water conservation targets in “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” to achieve water supply resiliency province-wide!


“Smaller communities often cannot allocate resources to traditional infrastructure projects or cannot budget for the development of water conservation and efficiency plans by service providers. The purpose of the Water Conservation Calculator is to illustrate how specific conservation measures yield both fiscal and physical water consumption savings. Water purveyors can use the tool to assist in presenting their conservation case to council and other decision makers,” stated Lisa Wright, Ministry of Community & Rural Development.

Read Article

ARTICLE: Resiliency Planning During a Pandemic – perspectives from Gibsons on a local government response (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2020)


“On the Sunshine Coast, we have benefited from the existence of a plan and structure to help the region manage its response to the pandemic. The coordinated response, via an Emergency Operations Centre set-up for that purpose, has been particularly helpful in ensuring unified communications and action planning. Municipal leaders and staff from various communities actively participated in the different roles and as a result, we have increased our region’s capacity to support the work now and in future events,” stated Emanuel Machado.

Read Article

ARTICLE: Infrastructure Management in British Columbia – Glen Brown has provided leadership at a provincial scale to transform the phrase ‘sustainable service delivery’ into an actionable vision for local government (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2020)


The 20/80 Rule refers to the initial capital cost of municipal infrastructure being about 20% of the ultimate total cost, with the other 80% being an unfunded liability. This is a driver for doing business differently. “Tackling the unfunded infrastructure liability involves a life-cycle way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. This holistic approach is described as Sustainable Service Delivery. The link between infrastructure asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Glen Brown.

Read Article

PICI, PORTAGE INLET CUTTHROAT INITIATIVE, IS A LEADING EXAMPLE OF CITIZEN SCIENCE IN ACTION IN ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “Partnerships have been essential to all we have accomplished through PICI and will continue to be as we progress into the future. Each partnership we have has brought something to the table, be it money, expertise or that one connection we were missing to get the job done,” stated Heather Wright, Research Coordinator, World Fisheries Trust (June 2020)


The catalyst for grass-roots action in Portage Inlet was the continuing decline in cutthroat and coho numbers in the Colquitz River and Craigflower Creek. Both systems flow into Portage Inlet and Gorge Waterway in the heart of Victoria. The geographical scope of PICI expanded to two entire watersheds in a three- step systematic process. First, raise seed money through an alliance of like- minded angling groups. Secondly, create a ‘consortium’ of non-profit, corporate and small business organizations to plan a comprehensive science- based program and secure grants. Thirdly, work with all levels of government towards a clear goal.

Read Article

USING SCIENCE TO ESTABLISH A LANDSCAPE WATER BUDGET: “The BC Landscape Water Calculator is linked to a 500 metre gridded climate data set covering the entire province. The tool allows any property owner in BC to zoom in to their property and quantify their landscape water needs based on climate, soil, plant type and irrigation system,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, when he announced that the online calculator is now live


“A platform re-build for the BC Agriculture Water Calculator was the opportunity to spin-off the BC Landscape Water Calculator as a stand-alone tool for use by local governments and their residents. At the same time, the City of Kelowna was implementing a landscape bylaw that established an allowable water budget at the individual property scale. Therefore, it was a natural fit for the Partnership and City to collaborate in the development of the BC Landscape Water Calculator,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

Read Article

DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “The once-in-a-lifetime redevelopment of the Argyle high school site in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley is an opportunity for stream restoration in one of the older urban areas. Application of the EAP methodology and metrics enabled us to quantify how streams influence neighbourhoods and property values, and thus inform the Kilmer Creek daylighting decision process,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair (June 2020)


“Two school frontages abut the stream. They account for 55% of the channel length through the area developed prior to streamside regulation. Thus, culvert daylighting plus channel realignment through school lands represent the single, most favourable opportunity to achieve stream restoration in the context of redevelopment. Stream restoration would enable the school district to fulfill a compelling social obligation, and that is, to recognize its responsibility to support maintenance and management of Kilmer Creek as a natural commons,” stated Tim Pringle.

Read Article

A GUIDE TO GREEN CHOICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We are providing local government with the information to make better decisions,” stated Dr. Laura Tate, then representing the BC Ministry of Community & Rural Development, when she explained the matrix of Green Communities initiatives at the inaugural 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series


In 2008, the Ministry of Community Development developed A Guide to Green Choices to help local governments continue the extensive work they were already doing in fostering green communities. “We have a series of initiatives within the Ministry that are integrated with other broader provincial initiatives. These are seeking to help us build green communities in our province. We all benefit from having attractive, liveable communities…with a healthy natural environment,” stated Dr. Laura Tate.

Read Article