2004 Convening for Action at the “Penticton Drought Forum”

AT THE PENTICTON DROUGHT FORUM: “The severe drought of 2003 in British Columbia is evidence that the historical approach of supply management for water resources is not sufficient,” stated Jim Mattison, Executive Director, Land and Water British Columbia (July 2004)

“To address this issue the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Drought was formed in August 2003, followed by the creation of a Drought Management Action Plan. One important component of the Action Plan is the development of the document, Dealing with Drought: A Handbook for Water Suppliers in British Columbia,” stated Jim Mattison. Lavishly high volumes of per capita water use, continued community and economic expansion, plus baseline environmental needs were all competing for their share of BC’s finite, but renewable, water resources. The era of supply-side management was drawing to a close.

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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)

In 2003, 25 per cent of water supply systems were stressed and two thirds brought in water restrictions to ensure continued supply. “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 .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 ,” stated Bill Barissoff.

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AT THE PENTICTON DROUGHT FORUM: Drought, Forest Fires and Floods Created a “Teachable Moment” for Climate Change Action (July 2004)

“The year 2003 was a memorable one in British Columbia history. Anything and everything that could happen did in fact happen: drought, forest fires and floods. They provided the backdrop and the context for the Province convening an event in July 2004 that was branded as the Penticton Drought Forum. The Province’s response to the 2003 drought encompassed a Drought Handbook and a $2M drought planning grant planning program. The rollout of both commenced at the Penticton Forum.,” stated Kim Stephens.

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AT THE PENTICTON DROUGHT FORUM: “The vision for the website is to provide a resource rich ‘destination location’ for water sustainability in British Columbia,” stated Mike Tanner, Waterbucket Chair (July 2004)

“Integrated water management involves consideration of land, water, air and living organisms – including humans – as well as the interactions among them. Through partnerships, the Water Sustainability Action Plan is promoting the watershed as a fundamental planning unit. The will connect all six Action Plan Elements to provide the complete story on integrated water management – why, what, where and how – and is the key to the communication strategy for the Action Plan,” stated Mike Tanner.

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