DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Columbia Basin Water Hub”, released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in June 2021

Note to Reader:

The edition of Waterbucket eNews published on March 2, 2021 featured the work of Living Lakes Canada. This initiative is a shining example of collaboration between the stewardship and local government sectors. Based in the Columbia Basin region of British Columbia, Living Lakes Canada helps local governments by building grass-roots capacity to tackle local climate impacts through community-based water monitoring.

Re-frame “Citizen Science” as Community-Based Water Monitoring!

“In February 2020, a Zoom meeting with Nicole Trigg and Kat Hartwig lifted the veil on a compelling story about collaboration in action. The tool created by Living Lakes Canada is an open source Columbia Basin Water Hub. Sounds technical and boring, doesn’t it? That was my first reaction,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

“However, the story behind the story is the passion of Kat Hartwig, human dynamo, and how her commitment and persistence brought a vision for citizen science to fruition. ‘Except,’ Kat said, ‘please don’t use the term citizen science!”

“The relevance of the Living Lakes story is that it points the way to re-framing citizen science as “community-based water monitoring”. The phrase is visual, conveys a story in a glance, and resonates. That is the essence of what I learned from Kat Hartwig. Filling a data gap and supporting local government started out as Kat’s game plan. Guided  by her vision for community-based water monitoring, she and her Living Lakes team have created the Columbia Basin Water Hub. Now it is onwards and upwards!”

Columbia Basin Water Hub

“In response to a 2017 Columbia Basin Trust report that pointed to the need for a coordinated monitoring effort and central data repository in the Upper Columbia Basin, Living Lakes Canada organized a conference in late 2017 that was attended by water data experts from across North America who discussed the democratization of data, the merits of open source, and the need for a water monitoring framework for the region,” stated Nicole Trigg.

“So we set out to build an open source data hub for the Upper Columbia Basin,” continued Kat. “Now we’ve got the platform built, we’re training groups to upload their data, and we’re receiving feedback from groups and provincial and local governments to ensure we’re supporting their needs. It’s an iterative process. The data is being quality controlled using metadata standards provided by a scientific sub-committee that align with the Province.”

“Then, to lay the groundwork for a water monitoring framework, Living Lakes Canada convened a meeting (in summer 2020) of senior hydrologists from government, consultants and academia who arrived at the consensus that a water balance approach was needed to fill the water data gaps in the basin’s 10 sub-watersheds.”

“Formally launched in March 2021, the Columbia Basin Water Hub will make critical water data readily available to decision makers for watershed management in an era of climate change impacting hydrological flows.”


To read the complete article, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Columbia Basin Water Hub.