Flashback to 2006: Under John Wagner’s leadership, UBC-Okanagan began a tradition of celebrating World Water Day


Kim Stephens – first in a long line of distinguished Keynote Speakers

Beginning in 2006, Dr. John Wagner has been responsible for bringing life to the World Water Day celebrations at UBC-Okanagan University. He continues to play a significant organizational role. His research spans environmental anthropology, agriculture, conservation, and water governance and rights.

Johh_Wagner_UBCO_2015_120pWorld Water Day is held on March 22nd, the official day declared by the United Nations General Assembly since 1993,” states John Wagner. “This is a day to learn more about the lack of clean drinking water, the misuses and importance of water as well as to help others in the world in need. According to statistics, close to a billion people are forced to live without safe drinking water and almost 2 billion are deprived of basic clean sanitation.”

“2006 was our first WWD at UBCO and Kim Stephens was the first in what became a long line of distinguished speakers! In his presentation, Kim focused on the integrating role that the Water Sustainability Action Plan plays in implementing the Convening for Action initiative through regional partnerships, with an initial emphasis on the Okanagan Region during the period 2005-2006.”


Convening for Action: Towards a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in the Okanagan

“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 3KimStephens_2007_120pplanning for a site or for the entire province,” stated Kim Stephens.

In 2006, his role was Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC. Currently, he is Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, the not-for-profit society responsible for ongoing delivery of program elements under the Action Plan umbrella.

“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.”

“Water-centric planning considers the amount of water available, the amount of water needed, innovative efficiency strategies, the quality of water leaving an area, how rain and snow water are managed, and the impact on the natural environment.”

“The underpinning premise is that resource, land use and community design decisions will be made with an eye towards their potential impact on the watershed.”

To Learn More:

Read World Water Day in the Okanagan

Read World Water Day at UBC-Okanagan: Keynote Presentation by Kim Stephens

Download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens: Convening for Action: Moving Towards a Water Balance Way-of-Thinking and Acting in the Okanagan

Download and read a copy of a newspaper article about his keynote address: Balancing Water, Land Use.

Read World Water Day at UBC-Okanagan: Panel Discussion on Water Challenges and Solutions