AT THE PENTICTON DROUGHT FORUM: “The forecast suggests that we’re in for another hot and dry summer. The funding we’re providing is designed to ensure that as many communities as possible have prepared water management plans and are prepared for the summer ahead,” stated Bill Barisoff, BC Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection (July 2004)
Note to Reader:
In 2003, British Columbia experienced one “teachable moment” after another, highlighted by the Okanagan forest fires that resulted in mass evacuations and widespread destruction in the City of Kelowna and surrounding areas. In May 2004, the Province announced that it would provide local governments across B.C. with up to $2 million in funding as part of the Provincial Drought Action Plan.
Provincial Drought Action Plan
The Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Drought was formed in August 2003, followed by the creation of a Drought Management Action Plan. This resulted in a series of rapid response actions:
- May 2004 – $2 milli0n in grant funding for drought management planning.
- June 2004 – publication of Dealing with Drought: A Handbook for Water Suppliers in British Columbia,
- July 2004 – the Penticton Drought Forum, co-hosted by George Abbott, Minister of Sustainable Resource Management (MSRM); and Bill Barisoff, Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (WALP).
The $2 million in planning funds for communities was provided as a result of a provincial survey of local water suppliers carried out in Fall 2003. The survey found that approximately 25 per cent of water supply systems were stressed last year and two thirds brought in water restrictions to ensure continued supply.
“The funding we’re providing is designed to ensure that as many communities as possible have prepared water management plans and are prepared for the summer ahead, Supporting local governments is a fundamental part of our plan, given their key roles as water managers, their familiarity with community water supplies and their ability to put in place water restrictions,” stated Minister Bill Barissoff.
“The forecast suggests that we’re in for another hot and dry summer. Last year, a number of our communities experienced water shortages and we want to make sure they have the tools and the resources they need, this summer and beyond, if these conditions persist.”
To Learn More:
Download a copy of Dealing with Drought: A Handbook for Water Suppliers in British Columbia
Download a copy of the agenda for the Water Use & Conservation Forum.
Download a copy of the Drought Management Update – Open Meeting of the BC Cabinet, May 2004
Download a copy of the news release, agenda and timeline for the 2004 Dealing with Drought Workshops.