World Water Day at UBC-Okanagan: Keynote Presentation by Kim Stephens
Note to Reader:
UBC Okanagan University celebrated World Water Day on March 22. Click on this link to download the World Water Day Poster which provides the Schedule of Events. Kim A Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, was invited to deliver the keynote address. He is an engineer-planner with 30-plus years on-the-ground experience related to water resource management, water supply development and infrastructure servicing throughout British Columbia.
Formerly a Vice-President with CH2M HILL, Kim Stephens has been an independent practitioner since 2002. As the Program Coordinator for implementation of the Water Sustainability Action Plan, his responsibilities include the following provincial initiatives: Water Balance Model for British Columbia; WaterBucket Website Partnership: Green Infrastructure Partnership; and Convening for Action Initiative.
An engineer-planner, Kim Stephens has received international recognition for his pioneering efforts related to watershed-based rainwater management, water conservation and smart land development. He has been invited to speak on ‘the British Columbia experience’ and make keynote presentations at forums in Australia and throughout North America.
The guidance document titled Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia is a distillation of Kim’s 30 years of experience in water resource management. The Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in British Columbia being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment.
Kim also created the vision for the Water Balance Model for British Columbia as an extension of the Guidebook. The early success of this tool led to the decision in 2004 by Environment Canada, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation and the Province of BC to join forces to create a truly national Water Balance Model for Canada and foster the formation of inter-provincial partnerships as a means to pool resources.
Kim’s work related to UniverCity at Simon Fraser University on Burnaby Mountain is profiled in the book by Brian Nattrass titled Dancing with the Tiger – Learning Sustainability Step by Natural Step.
Convening for Action: Moving Towards a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in the Okanagan
In his presentation, Kim Stephens focused on the integrating role that the Water Sustainability Action Plan is playing in implementing the Convening for Action initiative through regional partnerships, with an initial emphasis on the Okanagan Region.
Water Sustainability Action Plan
Through a partnership with the BC Ministry of Environment, program delivery for the Water Sustainability Action Plan is being carried out by the Water Sustainability Committee (WSC) of the BC Water & Waste Association. The WSC is providing the leadership, facilitation and organizational services necessary for successful program implementation.
The WSC is a broadly based roundtable of organizations that have a specific mission or interest in implementing the Action Plan. The roundtable encompasses government organizations, non-government associations, the private sector, and universities.
Towards Water-Centric Planning
“Land use planning cannot be disconnected from water use planning. People’s transformation of the landscape has impacts on the natural water balance. We must move towards ‘water-centric’ planning, where water is a key consideration, whether planning for a site or for the entire province. In 2003, droughts, forest fires and floods created a ‘teachable moment’, where the BC population became more aware of why they need to view land and water differently,” stated Kim Stephens.
To download his presentation, click on this link: Keynote Address by Kim Stephens
To download a copy of a newspaper article about his keynote address, click on Balancing Water, Land Use.