The event attracted attracted media attention, resulting in front-page headline stories in both of BC’s major daily newspapers. This led to further radio and TV coverage when the 2015 drought was voted BC’s top news story of the year in an online poll. “The Watermark spring theme focuses on risk and resilience, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to summarize the feast and famine workshop,” stated BCWWA’s Edel Burke.
2015 Feast and Famine
VIDEO: “Collaboration is essential and must cross all political and community boundaries, for climate change is no respecter of such creations,” stated Eric Bonham
“Future planners, engineers, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism and be able to frame the issue of achieving water-resiliency in communities against the backdrop of an unpredictable water cycle. This in turn demands the honing of a further skill, that of working together towards consensus, commitment and collaboration,” stated Eric Bonham.
VIDEO: “We have the tools and understanding to implement ‘Water Balance’ actions, restore watershed health and build resilient communities,” stated Kim Stephens
“Drought, forest fires, floods and pine beetle in 2003 created a ‘teachable year’ for change in BC. This gave BC a head-start on many other regions. The outcome? A decade later, provincial ‘game-changers’ are now in place that enable solutions in the local government setting,” stated Kim Stephens. “The three game-changers are Develop with Care 2014, the Water Sustainability Act, and Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework.”
VIDEO: “The sustainability challenge: Do nothing and fall behind; or run hard just to stay where you are,” Bob Sandford said to his Feast & Famine Workshop audience
“We face a number of cumulative and compounding human effects that at present make sustainability a moving target. We need to stabilize these effects if we don’t want adaptation and resilience to constantly be beyond reach,” said Bob Sandford. “The problem is that that we have begun to undermine the planetary conditions upon which we depend for the stability of environment and economy that are the foundation of our prosperity.”
VIDEO: “It is proposed to apply whole watershed thinking and follow a risk-based approach to decision-making and management across the region,” stated Keith Lawrence
“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground,” stated Keith Lawrence. “One of the actions undertaken throughout 2015 was a more coordinated approach to communicating what is happening in our region, and what can we do about climate impacts.”
VIDEO: “The District’s climate change adaptation strategy has emerged as a key foundation block for successfully implementing our Official Community Plan,” stated North Vancouver District’s Richard Boase
“We are using an adaptation strategy developed around the District’s Official Community Plan (known by the acronym OCP). For a local government, everything we do is driven by the OCP. By linking our climate adaptation strategy to the OCP, this results in an enabling framework for discussion and action in the spheres of influence encompassed by the OCP. It is all linked,” stated Richard Boase.
VIDEO: “From a food security perspective, irrigated agricultural lands in the Fraser Valley have strategic importance,” said Ted van der Gulik
Ted van der Gulik explained how the Agricultural Water Demand Model is being used in decision-making by local governments. “Agriculture is a large fresh water user and the demand for water will only increase as summers get longer, hotter and drier,” he stated. “BC needs 215,000 hectares of irrigated agriculture to feed our current population. The ~28,000 irrigated hectares in the Lower Mainland could be increased to 69,000 hectares at buildout.”
VIDEO: The salinity study will assess how the salt wedge would move up the Fraser River if the channel is deepened for shipping after removal of the George Massey Tunnel, reports John ter Borg
“The pending study will assess the sensitivity of the Fraser River to salinity changes. A range of channel dredging scenarios will be simulated, recognizing that there may be practical limitations on the depth to which the Fraser River can be deepened. Ports around the world typically have navigation channels that are 16 m to 18 m deep. We don’t as yet know what is realistic for the Fraser River,” stated John ter Borg.
VIDEO: “The ultimate vision for Sustainability Service Delivery is that communities would manage natural assets in the same way that they manage their engineered assets,” stated Glen Brown
Where a local government regulates land use, a watershed is an integral part of the drainage infrastructure assets of the local government. More specifically, the three pathways (surface, interflow, groundwater) by which rainfall reaches streams are infrastructure assets. They provide ‘water balance services’. As such, protection and maintenance of the three pathways has financial, level-of-service and life-cycle implications for asset management.
VIDEO: “We know we have a water wastage problem. The High Efficiency Irrigation Standard will help solve it,” stated Kirby Ell
Landscape irrigation can use up to 50% of the summertime domestic water demand. The new High Efficiency Irrigation Standard (HEIS) has been developed to improve the water efficiency of irrigation systems in British Columbia. According to Kirby Ell, the premise of the standard is that if all of the correct steps are taken, from design to installation to operation, there is a better chance that the irrigation system will be more efficient and save water.