OKANAGAN RAIN TO RESOURCE WORKSHOP: Elected representatives lend their credibility to “convening for action” event

Convening for Action in the Okanagan

Held in Kelowna in October 2010, the ‘From Rain to Resource: Managing Stormwater in a Changing Climate Workshop’ attracted almost 120 delegates from around British Columbia. Approximately half the audience came from the Okanagan/Interior. The other half came from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Participation of Elected Representatives

The workshop also attracted a significant number of of elected representatives from communities in the Okanagan Valley. Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd and OBWB Board Chair Stu Wells provided context for “convening for action” in their welcoming remarks.

MLA John Slater, Parliamentary Secretary for Water in the provincial government, spoke to this theme: Integrating Rainwater Management: Tools and Policies. A former Chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, his responsibilities include Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan and Water Act Modernization

Links to YouTube Videos

Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd connected the “convening for action” dots to Beyond the Guidebook 2010 — “In 2006 I was a member of a Mayors and Chairs Focus Group that yielded insights regarding how to lead and implement green infrastructure changes. Also, Kelowna was one of four cities – the othersbeing Chilliwack, Surrey and Courtenay – that were early adopters of the Water Balance Model. Beyond the Guidebook 2010 was an outcome of this related initiatives. The Water Balance Model tool is extremely helpful as we all look at the process for developing urban watershed plans that are outcome-oriented.”

Board Chair Stu Wells reminded everyone that there are two Q’s: Quantity and Quality — “We probably all knew that rainwater is a resource, but when we start zeroing in on what we can do, we are going to see how valuable it is. But what about the other Q! It is amazing how many times we look at QUANTITY, and I am from the region that wants to talk about QUALITY. So when we get into rainwater as a resource, it is really important that we recognize the quality of the water that we are dealing with when we put it into our lakes and rivers.”

John slater (120p)John Slater, Parliamentary Secretary for Water provided context for ‘designing with nature’ — “Mitigation and adaptation are both necessary and complementary strategies to cope with the climate change challenge. If mitigation is about CARBON, then adaptation is about WATER. Designing with nature captures the essence of climate change adaptation. Adaptation is about responding to the changes that will inevitably occur. Adaptation is at the community level and is therefore about collaboration. Rainwater management is at the heart of designing with nature.”

To Learn More:

This 2-day regional event was co-hosted by the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) and the BC Water and Waste Association. Click on Final Program for topic and speaker details.