Moving Toward a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in British Columbia: Goals and Objectives for Achieving Water Sustainability

Note to Reader:

Incorporated in November 2010, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is an autononous society that metamorphosed from the Water Sustainability Committee (WSC) of the BC Water & Waste Association.

Kim stephens - 2010 (120p)“The Partnership mission is to facilitate change,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director. “Now that the Partnership is a  legal entity, this opens the door to new opportunities to build on the foundation provided by the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.”

The article below is reproduced from the community-of-interest that the Water Bucket previously hosted for the former WSC. The article was written in 2005 to describe the Goals and Objectives of the WSC; and therefore provides relevant historical context on how the WSC has evolved from technical committee to stand-alone entity.

Partnership for water sustainability in bc - logo (360p)


2002 bcwwa conference


In 2003, the Water Sustainability Committee stated that its over-arching goal was to develop and implement a fully integrated Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia that will:

  1. Promote a watershed-based approach that manages the natural environment and the built environment as integrated components of the same watershed.
  2. Consider the health and well-being of communities in the context of at least a 50-year planning horizon.
  3. Focus on the social, economic, and environmental benefits of an integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management across the province.
  4. Educate and influence policy advisors and makers, practitioners and stakeholders regarding the benefits of protecting and restoring the hydrologic cycle.
  5. Build support for a paradigm-shift in British Columbia that, over time, will result in water being at the heart of decision-making for human activities.
  6. Facilitate the move toward a sustainable ‘closed loop’ approach to water resource management in British Columbia.
  7. Promote an ecosystem approach to protecting water resource health that recognizes that what the cell is to the body, the site is to the region.


To accomplish the over-arching goal of implementing a fully integrated Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, it was necessary for the Water Sustainability Committee to execute seven objectives that cascade as follows:

  1. Transition from a volunteer-based committee to one that has professional resources who are compensated accordingly to support the Water Sustainability Committee in fulfilling its mandate.
  2. Secure adequate and sustained funding so that a Program Coordinator can achieve results and create a legacy for the Water Sustainability Committee.
  3. Link and integrate all aspects of water resource management and water use, such as:(a) Water Conservaton
    (b) Water Pricing
    (c) Community Planning
    (d) Energy Demand
    (e) Climate Change
    (f) Aquatic Habitat Protection
    (g) Watershed Management
    (h) Source Water Protection
    (i) Flood and Stormwater Control
    (j) Water Supply and Treatment
    (k) Wastewater Re-Use
  4. Collaborate with other committees on the Technical Planning Council of the BCWWA, and:(a) Dovetail the WSC mandate with the strategic direction of BCWWA.
    (b) Seek their input when developing links to coordinate initiatives
    (c) Partner with them where appropriate to achieve integration of perspectives
  5. Develop partnerships with groups outside the water industry to:(a) Reinforce the efforts of other BCWWA technical committees(b) Add the ‘water dimension’ to community planning and land development(c) Promote change at four scales – region, watershed, neighbourhood and site(d) Promote technological and cultural changes, including professional, organizational and societal changes.
  6. Find the appropriate balance between:(a) planning process and concrete outcomes
    (b) changing behaviour and changing practices.
  7. Capture the expertise needed for the task.

Desired outcome - 2005 slide

Written in 2005. Re-posted in May 2011.