FLASHBACK TO 2003: “Charting a New Course – A Vision for Integrated Water Management in British Columbia” (Okanagan launch event for Water Sustainability Action Plan)

Note to Reader:

Although the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia was released in February 2004, the launch event was a focus group workshop hosted by the Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection in November 2003 in the Okanagan. This by-invitation event was attended by water resource practitioners from around British Columbia.

The Blue Ecology workshop in 2017 is a natural evolution of the vision for integrated water management as shared at the 2003 workshop. The Blue Ecology workshop is a deliverable under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan.

Integrated Water Management

Integrated water management involves consideration of land, water, air and living organisms – including humans – as well as the interactions among them. Through partnerships, the vision in 2003 was that the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia would:

  • Forge links as conceptualized in the diagram above;
  • Develop a continuum of products, with policy at one end, and pragmatic applications/tools at the other end; and
  • Promote the watershed as a fundamental planning unit.

Over the past 14 years, the Water Sustainability Action Plan has successfully provided an umbrella for on-the-ground demonstration applications of integrated water management.

Looking to the future in 2003, it was anticipated that the Water Sustainability Action Plan would use existing and emerging government policies, legislation and programs as fundamental starting points and will build on these.


A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia – Five Years Later (2003)

The Water Sustainability Action Plan has been built on the foundation provided by A Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia, developed and implemented by the Province in partnership with the Water Sustainability Committee of the BC Water & Waste Association during the period 1997 through 2001.

Released in 2008, the Strategy offered a general framework and menu of water use efficiency tools from which to begin assessing water supply and demand management needs. The Strategy encouraged the selection and implementation of these tools to customize a water supply management plan to local areas and circumstances.

To Learn More:

The Water Conservation Strategy for British Columbia was released at the annual convention of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) in September, 1998. For more information, visit A Water Conservation Strategy for BC.

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 Charting a New Course

In November 2003, the Province and Water Sustainability Committee co-organized a focus group workshop that was held in the Okanagan. Workshop leadership was provided by Lynn Kriwoken of BC Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection.2004_Lynn-Kriwoken_120p

“The Water Sustainability Action Plan is being developed through a model that describe as shared responsibility,” stated Lynn Kriwoken Manager of the Water Protection Section in the Water, Air & Climate Change Branch of the Ministry. “The Action Plan elements will holistically link water management with land use and development.”

Inspire and Promote Stewardship

Kim Stephens delivered a keynote presentation that provided the philosophical context and thus informed a breakout session titled Develop Strategies to Maximize Effectiveness of Water Sustainability Action Plan.

2003_Kim-Stephens_120pIt has been five years since release of the Strategy. Also, the summer of 2003 will long be remembered for the impact of the drought and forest  fires on the capabilities of watersheds to provide for existing and projected population growth. These considerations add to the timeliness of an Action Plan. Ideas that were seeded in the Strategy are now sprouting,” stated Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Committee, at the 2003 consultation event in the Okanagan.

“The approach in developing the Action Plan is grounded. We are bringing together successful initiatives that can inform provincial policy through the shared responsibility model. Our vision is that the products resulting from the Action Plan will represent a continuum…with policy at one end, and pragmatic applications / tools at the other end.”

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Charting a New Course – A Vision for Integrated Water Management in British Columbia.

To download a copy of a report that documents in detail how the workshop was conducted and what was accomplished in breakout groups, click on WSAP Focus Group Workshop – November 2003 Outcomes. The report also lists the participants whose commitment and collective contributions ensured that the workshop was a success.

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