Moving Toward a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in British Columbia: Vision and Mission 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.
“The vision of the Partnership is that water sustainability will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. The Partnership mission is to facilitate change,” states Tim Pringle, President. “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 Vision and Mission of the WSC; and therefore provides relevant historical context on the evolution of the WSC from technical committee to stand-alone entity.
Founded in 1992 when the public was still asking “why do we need water conservation when it rains all the time?”, the Water Sustainability Committee (WSC) has evolved over the next decade to reflect the changing times. During the 1990s, the committee membership primarily comprised municipal engineers who represented the complete size range of water purveyors. In its second incarnation during the first decade of the 2000s, the WSC became a broad-based coalition of people who had diverse backgrounds and experience in water resource management and related disciplines in government organizations, non-governmental associations, the private sector, and academia. A historical perspective is provided as follows:
- In collaborating with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to develop the National Action Plan for Municipal Water Use Efficiency in the mid-1990s, the WSC committee articulated and advocated a commonsense “Made in Columbia” approach to reducing wasteful water use.
- The legacy of those pioneering efforts, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, is the 1998 guidance document titled A Water Conservation Srategy for British Columbia. During the period 1998 through 2001, and under the aegis of an Inter-Governmental Partnership Agreement, the WSC was given a mandate to promote province-wide implementation of the Strategy.
- Commencing in 2003, the WSC embarked on another partnership with the Province and others to build on this legacy; the WSC then developed and implemented the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.
The mission of the Water Sustainability Committee (WSC) was to facilitate the move toward a more sustainable approach to water resource management – at all levels from the province to the household.
Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia
The WSC embarked on a partnership with the Province and other Stakeholders to develop and implement a fully integrated Water Sustainability Action Plan. (Click here to download a copy)
The Action Plan built on A Water Conservation Strategy for BC, developed and promoted during the period 1997 through 2001 by the Province in collaboration with the WSC and under the terms of a precedent-setting Partnership Agreement between government and the BCWWA.
The Action Plan recognized that the greatest impact on land and water resources occurs through our individual values, choices and behaviour. The goal of the Action Plan 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.
Three defining questions provide a frame of reference for branding Action Plan Elements:
- What is the issue or problem?
- So what can be done about it?
- Now what will be done?
The WSC believed it was simply not good enough to focus only on defining the problems (the ‘what’) or debating the perspectives (the ‘so what’). Rather, the objective of the Action Plan was to challenge individuals and organizations to demonstrate how we can move from talk to action (the ‘now what’).
The desired outcome is implementation of on-the-ground changes in policies, programs, applied research, practitioner education and standards of practice that lead to full integration of water management and landscape (re)development. In an ‘integrated landscape’, water is the unifying element.
Written in 2005. Re-posted May 2011