Convening for Action in the South Okanagan: Water Sustainability Committee Spearheads New Partnership Initiative


It Starts With a Conversation

The Water Sustainability Committee (WSC) of the BCWWA is partnering with the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC), the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land, and the Ministry of Community Services to advance the water balance way-of-thinking in the Okanagan.2003_Kim-Stephens_120p

According to Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, “The WSC process in this region will reach out to interested parties to begin a chain of events aimed at promoting and informing the adoption and implementation of well-grounded water sustainability policies at regional through local levels.”

  • The WSC has a track record of bringing people together who have knowledge and expertise with those who will benefit from this in ways that will help them meet their present and future water sustainability challenges. To initiate Convening for Action in the South Okanagan, the WSC and REFBC organized 12 meetings over a three-day period in the first week of November 2005.
  • Meetings were held in the communities of Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos, Oliver and Summerland with a number of elected officials, local government staff, realtors, land developers, and the Osoyoos Indian Band. To download an ‘info-flyer’ that provides background on Convening for Action in the South Okanagan, click here.

Tim-Pringle_REFBC_April 2007_120pAccording to Tim Pringle, REFBC Executive Director, “In launching this initiative, the WSC and REFBC decided we would first have informal conversations with a diverse group of individuals. We believe this approach is an effective way to gain an on-the-ground understanding of how communities in the Okanagan view population growth and water issues. The fact that the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is in the process of developing a Regional Growth Strategy adds context and relevance to these conversations.”

Through outreach and education, a goal of the WSC is to inform decision-makers and re-focus practitioners on basic water management principles and concepts that are embedded in the equation Water OUT = Water IN.

Through a partnership with the Province, the WSC is providing the leadership, facilitation and organizational services necessary for successful implementation of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

“The goal is to influence choices and encourage action by individuals and organizations so that water resource stewardship will become an integral part of land use and daily living”, concluded Stephens in commenting on the desired outcome for this provincial initiative.