CONVENING FOR ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Vancouver GreenLink Conference provided a high-profile platform for showcasing “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” and rolling out “Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia” (October 2010)

Note to Reader:

Released in February 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia demonstrates what can be achieved through a ‘top-down & bottom-up strategy’. In retrospect, 2010 was a milestone year for ‘convening for action’ under the umbrella of the Action Plan. Much was accomplished by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in an extremely busy year.

The Partnership organized and provided program development for three flagship events under the umbrella of CAVI, Convening for Action on Vancouver Island. The Partnership also delivered program components within seven other major events organized by other organizations. The latter events were held in three regions, namely: Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan. 

At the Greenlink Conference held in Vancouver in October 2010, the Partnership delivered a panel session module as part of the outreach for Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan. The Water Sustainability Action Plan flows from Living Water Smart, released in 2008. The Action Plan is guided by the Living Water Smart vision, and the set of actions identified therein for building greener communities and adapting to a changing climate.

GreenLink 2010: Linking Sustainable Communities, Investment Capital, Technology, and Government

GreenLink 2010 attracted an international audience and ‘linked’ the best of the best in sustainable communities, finance, technology and government. The event attracted a number of high profile participants, in particular David Suzuki. Thus, it provided a high-profile platform for showcasing Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan, and continuing the roll-out of the “Beyond the Guidebook 2010″ guidance document which had been released only months before in June 2010.

The Goal: Inspire Action

GreenLink 2010 hoped to inspire ‘definitive action’ by convening decision makers, business and capital interested in moving forward sustainable development.

Choosing a city, Vancouver, that aimed to be the greenest in the world by 2020, the conference hosted roundtable sessions on world-class sustainable development, ideas to create smarter communities and how to attract investment capital.

A featured speaker was Joe Van Belleghem, the original developer of Victoria’s Dockside Green residence, known as one of Canada’s most innovative projects and selected as one of the founding Climate Positive Developments by the Clinton Climate Initiative.

To Learn More:

Download a copy of the announcement, GreenLink 2010 to Inspire Action, that describes the vision for the conference.

Download a copy of the Agenda for GreenLink 2010 – Linking Sustainable Communities, Investment Capital, Technology and Governance.

Smarter Water Management

Sponsored by IBM, the breakout session on Smarter Water Management was initiated, organized and facilitated by Peter Williams of the IBM organization. Based in northern California, he is Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Big Green Innovations program.

Peter Williams first approached Lynn Kriwoken of the Ministry of Environment. Lynn then recruited Ted van der Gulik of the Ministry of Agriculture and Kim Stephens to round out the panel.

Living Water Smart Panel

“We called ourselves the Living Water Smart Panel because of the roles that we were each playing in the delivery of Living Water Smart,” recalled Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. “We provided IBM with this Abstract:

Launched in 2008, Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan is the B.C. government’s vision and commitment to ensure our water stays healthy and secure.  The plan focuses on improving water laws and information to deal with pressures on water, preparing communities for climate change, and encouraging British Columbians to choose to live water smart.

To help achieve Living Water Smart targets and actions, the Province and partners have developed a suite of tools. These tools are all web-based and accessible to anyone with a computer. They are intended to support new approaches to water management. They can be applied on-the-ground by land and water practitioners. They will collectively influence practitioner behaviour and facilitate informed decision-making with respect to ‘designing with nature’ and building greener communities.

The suite of tools that enable water-centric planning and water smart choices include the Water Balance Model, Water Conservation Calculator, Water Bucket Website, Agriculture Irrigation Scheduling Calculator, Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator and OKIM (Okanagan Irrigation Management).

“As a team, we worked collaboratively with Peter Williams over a period of two months to frame a set of questions that would guide each of our components in an integrated presentation. Given that Lynn Kriwoken was the provincial government’s lead person for Living Water Smart, he was curious about the outcome or results that the BC government wants to see from Living Water Smart, especially how information and technology would help inform infrastructure modernization.

Tools for Living Water Smart

“Because the focus of my work was on outreach and tool development, he wondered how are the tools that we have been developed in BC and implemented through a partnership approach been useful in getting the message out to stakeholders on the importance of Living Water Smart and getting people to act.

“In the case of  Ted van der Gulik, Peter Williams considered it important for Ted to explain how it came to be that the Ministry of Agriculture was the lead agency for the Water Balance Model, a tool designed for application to urban watersheds and residential land development.”

Living Water Smart in British Columbia

Living Water Smart comprises 45 commitments, which are grouped into five themes. The Action Plan plays a key delivery role in two of the five theme areas, namely: community planning and development (#5); and efficiency, outreach, public awareness (#2).

Influence the Form and Function of Built Environment

“By living water smart, communities will be more prepared for climate change and their quality of life will be enhanced. If we can show how to get the water part right, then other parts are more likely to follow,” stated Lynn Kriwoken, Director, Innovation and Planning in the Water Stewardship Division of the Ministry of Environment, and the Province’s lead person for delivery of Living Water Smart.

“To get to the big picture, it starts with the smallest pieces,” added Kim Stephens. “The ultimate goal of the Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives is to establish expectations that will, in turn, influence the form and function of the built environment.”

To Learn More:

Download a copy of Living Water Smart, the integrated presentation by Lynn, Ted and Kim.

YouTube Video

The format for the breakout session on water was a set of short context presentations followed by interaction between the panelists and the audience. This provided a change of pace from the ‘talking head’ format for preceding sessions.

Watch Peter Williams open the Smarter Water Management session

“The team of Lynn Kriwoken, Ted van der Gulik and Kim Stephens provided insight into some of the issues around water management in British Columbia,” stated Peter Williams when he introduced the interactive format for the panel session.