DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Moving Towards Water Sustainability Act 2.0” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in April 2022


Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate; and embrace “design with nature” approaches to reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes. 

The edition published on April 5, 2022 featured an article by Donna Forsyth and Mike Wei that reflected on challenges and gaps in BC’s Water Sustainability Act, and introduced a framework for addressing them through “WSA 2.0”.

What might a Water Sustainability Act 2.0 look like?

Passed by the British Columbia Legislature in 2014, the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) came into force on February 29, 2016. The WSA is once-in-a-generation, transformational legislation. The WSA is the legislative piece of Living Water Smart.

The WSA is not something that the average person thinks about. But in this era of reconciliation, how actions are implemented will have ripple effects that will touch on all our lives. For this reason alone, it is important to “get it right”.

In this edition of Waterbucket eNews, Donna Forsyth and Mike Wei pose the question, what might a Water Sustainability Act 2.0 look like? The article is the prelude to a series. Donna Forsyth and Mike Wei frame the issue in broad-brush terms. In subsequent editions, they will elaborate on five challenges and gaps in the existing WSA, and why they must be reconciled.

In terms of historical context, the original 55 actions comprising Living Water Smart were grouped into five implementation themes. In two of the five – community planning and development; and efficiency, outreach, public awareness – the Partnership for Water Sustainability has played a key delivery role over the years.

Story Behind the WSA Story

Donna Forsyth and Mike Wei bring a firsthand understanding and a clear lens to address the WSA question. Prior to retirement from government, both were senior civil servants in the Ministry of Environment. Mike was the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights; Donna was a legislative advisor involved in the development of policy. Both were in the room and at the table when the WSA legislation was written.

Donna Forsyth, in fact, led the team tasked with ensuring that the legislation met the policy goals proposed in the consultation on the WSA. She also supported the minister in the Legislature when the bill was debated in 2014. In addition, she coordinated the development of the key regulations required to bring the WSA into force in 2016.

Suffice to say, this duo knows the oral history of how and why decisions were made with respect to the initial content of the WSA. They also offer unique, firsthand knowledge and understanding of the implications of government failing to resolve those challenges and bridge the remaining gaps within the WSA. And what is really important for readers to know, Donna and Mike remain passionate about getting the WSA right. It is their mission.


To read the complete story published on April 5th 2022, download a PDF copy of “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Moving Towards Water Sustainability Act 2.0″.