Benefits of Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative: Sharing and learning from each other eliminates disconnect between information and implementation

Note to Reader:

In May 2016, Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia met with Chair Bill Veenhof and the Board of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) to recognize the regional district as a Champion Supporter of the Partnership. RDN experience related to its Drinking Water & Watershed Program is informing the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative, which the Partnership is leading.

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RDN is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

The Champion Supporter designation is the Partnership’s way of formally recognizing government and non-government organizations that provide the Partnership with ongoing financial and/or in-kind support; and also play a leadership role in the “convening for action” initiative.

While the Partnership is a not-for-profit society, its voting members mostly represent local governments. Hence, the demonstrated commitment by the RDN to achieving a shared vision for water sustainability in a local government setting is vitally important to the Partnership’s capability to carry out its mission.

Chair Bill Veenhof (L) receives framed Champion Supporter letter of recognition from Kim Stephens (R)

Chair Bill Veenhof (L) receives framed Champion Supporter letter of recognition from Kim Stephens (R)

Shared Vision for Water Sustainability

In 2012, RDN Board support for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI) enabled the Partnership to align efforts and implement the “proof of approach” in collaboration with the Capital, Cowichan and Comox Valley regional districts. The experience gained that year subsequently informed full-scale implementation along the east coast of Vancouver Island and in the Metro Vancouver region.

2Randy Alexander_Sep2014_120p“The Partnership for Water Sustainability brings together, and supports the efforts of, local and regional governments across BC. It’s overarching goal is to provide tools to help organizations achieve their water sustainability goals, and opportunities for shared learning. The IREI is an outstanding example of this shared learning approach, and is endorsed by 5 Regional Boards, representing 75% of the population in BC,” states Randy Alexander, General Manager (Regional and Community Utilities, Regional District of Nanaimo.

“My primary purpose in meeting with the RDN Board was to provide the Directors with an overview of the work of the Partnership, our goals for the coming years, and to introduce them to Beyond the Guidebook 2015, the third in a series of guidance documents.” explains Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director. “It also created an opportunity to thank the Directors for Board support for the past decade and present a framed copy of the ‘letter of recognition’ that the RDN is a Champion Supporter of the Partnership.”

To Learn More:

Download Delegation Information Package for Presentation to RDN Committee of the Whole on May 10, 2016.

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Moving Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management

Kim Stephens_DSC_0011_trimmed1_120p“In BC, a ‘learn-by-doing’ process is opening minds and building confidence that communities can re-set the baseline and can replicate a desired watershed condition,” continues Kim Stephens.

“The Beyond the Guidebook Series documents the progress of local government champions who are leading implementation of changes in practice. It takes time to make a difference. Three milestone years along the way are: 2007, 2010 and 2015.”

“Beyond the Guidebook 2015 introduces Dr. Daniel Pauly’s Shifting Baseline Syndrome to explain why communities unwittingly accept incremental and cumulative environmental degradation. It then adapts this thinking to focus on how communities can turn the clock back to replicate desired conditions.  This outcome would be achievable through an approach that is being branded as Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management,” concludes Kim Stephens.

To Learn More:

Beyond-Guidebook-2015_final_bold border_Nov_240pDownload Beyond the Guidebook 2015: Presentation to the Regional District of Nanaimo Committee of the Whole in May 2016 to view the complete storyline for the presentation by Kim Stephens.

The Regional District of Nanaimo chapter inBeyond the Guidebook 2015 is 16 pages and is organized in five sections as shown below. To download a PDF copy and read the complete story, click on Convening for Action in Nanaimo Region.

To download the entire 158-page document, click on Beyond the Guidebook 2015.