Leading Change in British Columbia: Partnership for Water Sustainability and Irrigation Industry Association co-host “Convening for Action Annual Year-End Water Sustainability Workshop Series”

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Annual Workshop Series
Frames the “Bold Ideas”

“In 2013, Ted van der Gulik had an idea. He suggested that the Partnership for Water Sustainability collaborate with the Irrigation Industry Association (IIABC) to co-host an annual workshop in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting for each organization. Kim Stephens_IMG_1554_120pThe rest is history,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.

“In December 2013, we established the precedent for collaboration when the two groups joined forces to undertake Get Your Mind Into the Gutter: A Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting in British Columbia, held in Richmond. We had a simple concept: co-host a workshop; and at lunchtime, hold separate AGMs.”

“The concept worked because each party brought value to the mix. IIABC provided the infrastructure muscle necessary to successfully organize a major event. And the Partnership provided professional development skills to provide a high-end workshop program. It was Win-Win.”

Approach to Workshop Design

“A critical success factor is that workshop content is cascading – from high-level to ground-level. The Partnership and IIABC perspectives complement each nicely. The IIABC membership is very hands-on in terms of building and maintaining irrigation systems. Our joint workshops puts this work in a bigger picture context related to water sustainability. The approach works.”

“After three successful annual events, the Partnership and IIABC have a track record. The series has established credibility because we look ahead to anticipate necessary directions for British Columbia.”

“We think through in detail the design of each module within the workshop program. Because our purpose is to start conversations around ‘bold ideas’, this means we must first inform and educate our audiences so that they can have informed conversations.”

“Our goal is that our audiences will be both energized and inspired to make a difference when they leave the room,” concludes Kim Stephens.


4th in the series: Flow and Grow – Balancing the Economy, Ecology and Settlement in the Okanagan

4_Eric Bonham_120p“On November 29, 2016, the Partnership and IIABC in conjunction with the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) are co-sponsoring a timely and vital workshop in Kelowna that will address both immediate and long term water security issues in the Okanagan Valley,” continues Eric Bonham, a founding member of the Partnership. He is a former Director in two provincial ministries – Environment and Municipal Affairs.

Province-wide Applicability

“Whether discussing the economy or ecological challenges, the significance of the findings from the workshop will be of equal importance and applicability to other areas within the province and beyond, given the focus is on the impacts of climate change and the need to plan now for a water sustainable future.”

“The workshop will explore the role of water from the global to the local with Bob McDonald of CBC’s Quirks @ Quarks fame leading the opening session with Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band on the theme Science and Spirit – An Inclusive Journey.”

Visionary and Practical

The particular journey facing the Okanagan Basin includes the impact of climate change, water security, population demand and food security issues. These challenges will be discussed by expert inter-disciplinary presenters with the objective of seeking a balance of the economy, ecology and settlement in the Valley:

“Managing water is critical to many other sustainable development goals. In fact those other goals cannot be achieved without managing water better in the context of a change in climate”, notes Bob Sandford, author and presenter at the workshop.”

“In essence, the workshop is both visionary and practical, so constructed to identify solutions regarding water security through a process of consensus, commitment and collaboration. The workshop draws together an outstanding combination of speakers to address major challenges that demand new ways of thinking, collaboration and creative problem solving and would be of interest to planners, engineers, business sector, politicians and citizens alike,” concludes Eric Bonham.

Themes in the Annual Year-End Water Sustainability Workshop Series

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