YOUTUBE VIDEO > Reflections on the 2015 Drought: “Southwest British Columbia dodged a bullet,” stated Kim Stephens in an interview published by The Province newspaper (Dec 2015)


The drought that extended through the winter, spring and summer of 2015, and from Vancouver Island to Manitoba and from Mexico to the Yukon, suggests we may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime in Western North America. This would have huge consequences for water security.

In December 2015, The Province newspaper published a front-page story titled: Brace for Another Drought Crisis.

Experts Sound Warning That Citizens Should Expect and Prepare for Another Crisis in 2016

“Despite the current deluge of rain and snow, Vancouverites could well be facing another drought crisis this summer,” wrote Kent Spencer in a front-page story published by The Province newspaper on December 18, 2015. The article draws on the exerience of four British Columbians:

  • Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
  • Ken Ashley, Director, Rivers Institute at the BC Institute of Technology
  • Peter Luckham, Chair, Islands Trust Council
  • Ross Davies, educator at the Bell-Irving fish hatchery in Maple Ridge

The years in which the region has experienced supply challenges are years in which lake water levels had drawn down prematurely due to an early snowmelt in combination with warm weather.

MetroVan_2015 reservoirlevels_Oct11

2015 is a ‘Teachable Year’

“This past summer, local government water managers throughout Southwest BC were telling me that watershed conditions were so dry that there was simply no inflow to water storage reservoirs as the drought progressed,” states Kim Stephens. There were a lot of worried folks by late July when there was no end in sight to the drought and it appeared that we were about to experience an unprecedented 6-month period with almost no rain. There is no Plan B once the reservoirs are empty.”

“Communities in southwest British Columbia dodged a bullet in 2015. The clock is ticking. Communities need to leverage this teachable year and seize opportunities to change how the water resource is viewed and managed,” emphasizes Kim Stephens.

To Learn More:

To download and read a copy of the complete article published in December 2015, click on Warm climate spells drought trouble.

For historical context, click on FLASHBACK TO 1992: Metro Vancouver first implemented the “Water Shortage Response Plan”

For a detailed article about the Kim Stephens interview, click on Reflections on the 2015 Drought: “In engineering terms, in BC we have small margins of safety for water storage and therefore limited resiliency to adapt to a changing climate,” says the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Kim Stephens