Vision for the Water Bucket Website explained by Mike Tanner at the 2009 Penticton Forum


Water bucket - vision statement

Convening for Action in British Columbia

The following challenge statement provided context for advancing a ‘regional team approach’ at the 2009 Annual Conference of the British Columbia Water & Waste Association (BCWWA) on April 29 in Penticton.

  • How do we align our efforts at three scales – provincial, regional and local – to do business differently, prepare communities for change, and choose to be water smart

The Penticton Forum showcased how partnerships, collaboration, innovation and integration are helping local governments in three regions make the best choices for living water smart: This is what we want to achieve, and this is how we will get there.

Water Bucket Explained

One of the tools that is helping to effect changes on the ground in water and land development practices in British Columbia is the Water Bucket Website. At the Penticton Forum, Mike Tanner explained the partnership vision for the website and Mike tanner (160p)how this tool is being used.  Mike Tanner is the Chair of the Water Bucket Partnership.

To download a copy of his presentation, click on Tools to Facilitate Green Infrastructure: Water Bucket Website. While viewing the slides, you can listen to Mike Tanner speak by clicking on this link to a YouTube video (9 minutes) that accompanies the presentation slides. A transcript of his remarks is included below.

The Genesis was officially launched by means of a Ministerial announcement at the 2005 BCWWA conference. The website is managed by the BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee and is led and financially supported by the Water Bucket Website Partnership made up of various members including federal and provincial ministries, crown corporations and others.

What makes distinctive is that is has three dimensions. First, it is a new magazine for raising awareness of BC success stories, secondly, it has a growing library of information resources on the BC experience and third, it houses made in BC tools for use by practitioners on-the-ground.

The site is the key to the communication strategy for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC. It is intended to maintain a sustained focus on water. The Plan is comprised of four main areas, products and tools, networking and outreach, capacity building and education and training.

The website is designed to provide the complete story on integrated land and water management, the why, what where and how.

The Vision

The vision for the website has been to provide a resource rich, highly interactive “destination location” for information and communication related to water sustainability in BC.

The website is designed to provide universal access to information and to further collective understanding and collaboration. By providing universal access to information, we believe we will see improved standards in all aspects of land development and water resource management. is also a web-based communication system that facilitates networking and the sharing of knowledge and expertise, supports efforts to promote conservation and stewardship and help convert that information into action.


The notion of a web-based Community of Interest has been developed to respond to the needs of organizational clusters which evolve to discuss and communicate ideas around a specific issue. The website comprises a set of COI’s that include each element of the Water Sustainability Action Plan that I mentioned earlier.

Each COI is a self-managing website that provides easy access to a variety of information modules developed within the COI structure. This dynamic information source is developed on a collaborative, non-proprietary platform that allows emerging to leverage the investment of existing partners and use communication and web development resources effectively.

To enable users to customize their home pages by means of direct links, the website resides on a state-of-the-art RSS (Real Simple Syndication) platform. In other words, content can be provided by a live feed so that users will receive fresh information with each visit to the site. This capability will enable users to take control of the flow of information and add new layers of personalization and social sharing. is more than a website, it is an application of leading-edge technology to achieve a vision that foresees communities of interest evolving into communities-of-practice.


The website provides a forum to share resources, information, experiences and insights and a location for contributions by content experts that will keep the website updated with new ideas and information.

Content contributors are members of the WSC and others who have registered on the site as contributors. The objective is that when a contributor comes across a web link, sustainability information or whatever catches their interest and they want to share with others, they would access their account and input the link or information to the site.

The is part of a Canada-wide partnership. So, the technological enhancements and advances are shared Canada-wide. The investment in  BC leverages investments in other provinces as other partners are spurred to create even more enhancements that benefit all.

One of the goals of the website is to build capacity through the sharing of experiences, approaches and lessons learned by practitioners in implementing various policies and practices.

Over the past two years, Vancouver Island has been the Action Plan pilot region for a bottom-up approach to informing and educating municipal planners, engineers and others. The experience gained through this process has demonstrated the valuable role that plays in delivering information and sharing lessons learned.


In addition to promoting a way of thinking and acting, the website already houses online tools such as Water Balance Model, Water Save Tool Kit, the Irrigation Scheduling Calculator, the Water Conservation Calculator, and there are more tools in development.

By promoting long-term thinking, the resources and tools available to decision makers and practitioners on the website should facilitate early actions that will ultimately achieve progress because systems will become resilient in the face of changing circumstances.

By promoting the broadening of the scope of plans to incorporate a design with nature ethic, these resources and tools available should help address more issues in a comprehensive way because they will have examples of how to connect the four pillars of sustainability.

One of the primary objectives of the website is to share and publicize case study information with emphasis on success stories and lessons learned. Why success stories? Because, no one wants to be the first to try new process or product. I know this from my over 15 years experience with BC Hydro Power Smart. By providing the proof, others are more willing to try to initiate change or use new technology.

Visitors to the site will be able to view fully developed narrative approaches to guide learners through a discussion and exploration process. The case studies provide a systematic way of looking at events, collecting data, analyzing information and reporting the results.

Success to Date

By serving as a platform for showcasing how monitoring and evaluation tools can be applied the website will celebrate success and track results for issues that mater most.

We have found it extremely effective to publish news-style stories that create interest in Action Plan programs and events. Our experience is that the use of photos and images is engaging; and attributing quotes to individuals in a conversational style has more impact than dry technical writing.

To-date, the site has approximately 150 visitors per day coming to view the latest in technology, tools and practices.

These practices and tools will enhance the environment and provide attractive social and economic returns to those entities employing them.

The power of the is in the array of features that have been developed and/or are being developed to facilitate the sharing of information and the use of the online tools.