WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN: Community-of-practice for ‘Convening for Action in British Columbia’ – “Having the waterbucket.ca website as a communication platform allows the Action Plan partners to ‘tell our story’ and ‘record our history’ as a work-in-progress,” stated Ray Fung (2006)

Note to Reader:

Released in February 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia introduced a framework for building partnerships and demonstrating what can be achieved through a ‘top-down & bottom-up strategy’ that aligns efforts at the provincial, regional and local scales to respond and adapt to a changing world.

Why a Convening for Action Community-of-Interest

This Community-of-Interest (COI) is the communication platform for informing British Columbians about the process for moving forward with an array of partnerships that promote a ‘water-centric’ approach to community planning that is grounded in a ‘design with nature’ guiding philosophy.

“Convening for Action is a provincial initiative that supports innovation on-the-ground, and has undertaken regional demonstration initiatives and programs on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver, as well in the Okanagan Basin and the Thompson Rivers Region,” stated Ray Fung. He is a  former Chair of both the BC Water Sustainability Commitee (2003-2008) and the Green Infrastructure Partnership (2008-2011). He is also a founding member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“This provincial initiative is creating an opportunity to embrace all components of the water cycle through integrated water management. It will turn ideas into action by building capacity and understanding regarding integration of long-term, strategic planning and the implementation of physical infrastructure.”

“From the perspective of those leading and/or participating in regional programs, having this COI provides the opportunity to ‘tell our story’ and ‘record our history’ as a work-in-progress.”

The Community-of-Interest Storyline

“The menu on the homepage creates the storyline for the community-of-interest. Convening for Action is aimed at building capacity through improving awarenessabout effective approaches to the sustainable use of water resources and demonstrating how to integrate these approaches into land and resource planning, development and management decisions at the regional, community through to site levels,” explains Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“Convening for Action calls for moving from defining the problems (the ‘what’), to determining options (the ‘so what’) and taking action to achieve results (the ‘now what’),” states Erik Karlsen, who formulated the what – so what – now what mind map for addressing challenges, problems, issues and crises. For a further explanation, click on Convening for Action in British Columbia: Turning Ideas Into Action.

Vision for the COI as a News Magazine

“The notion of a web-based Community-of-Interest (COI) has been developed to respond to the needs of organizational clusters which evolve to discuss and communicate ideas around a specific issue. The waterbucket.ca website comprises a set of COIs that include each element of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia,” explains Mike Tanner, Waterbucket Chair.

The WaterBucket Website is designed in a magazine style to appeal to specific target audiences, such that: the menu within each COI create the ‘storyline’ and supporting themes, so that users will keep coming back.

Funding from Province of British Columbia enabled initial development of Convening for Action COI

In 2005, the Province of British Columbia provided seed funding for development of the Convening for Action COI. In the years following, the Province provided core funding for the Convening for Action program. This support made it possible for the COI to evolve into a dynamic resource and source of information on how water-centric ideas are being turned into action in British Columbia.

In 2006, former Minister of Environment, Barry Penner,  provided this perspective: “I am pleased with the continuing success of the ministry’s partnership with the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee in providing program delivery for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. Under the umbrella of the Action Plan, my predecessor announced the formal launch of the waterbucket.ca website at the 2005 BCWWA Annual Conference. A year later, your association has expanded the number of communities-of-interest from one to seven. Congratulations!”

The Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia also provided substantial funding for the Convening for Action program duriing the period 2005 through 2011, and this facilitated content development.

Water Sustainability Committee morphed into the
Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia

The Action Plan soon led to growing collaboration regarding the role of water sustainability in shaping communities. Water sustainability is a metaphor for managing the built environment sustainably. In 2010, incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability as a legal entity was a natural outcome. A strength of the Partnership is that it can cross regional boundaries with comfort and draw players together for the benefit of the whole, and as a result, encourage an inclusive sustainability vision.

To Learn More:

Click on BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee was the genesis for the “Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia”, an autonomous society.

Click on Founding members of BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee re-group under new Champions Advisory Committee

Posted June 2006
Updated November 2007
Revised July 2012