“Fresh water is one of the most precious natural resources we have. While the B.C. government continues to act on ‘Living Water Smart’ – which is our vision and plan for keeping our water healthy and secure for the future – what the Province does is only part of the solution. Local and regional groups like the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council are stepping up and demonstrating leadership throughout the province,” stated Environment Minister Terry Lake.
2013 Water Stewardship Award for British Columbia
Stewardship Award Recognizes Outstanding Achievement, Innovative Practice and Leadership in Implementing the “Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy”
“In reflecting on this excellence in water stewardship award it is humbling to reflect on the dedication and passion of the individuals and organizations who demonstrate commitment, leadership and build trust as we tackle some of the complex contemporary challenges that are involved in providing clean, safe drinking water; protecting the aquatic ecosystem; and reducing conflict between those who depend on water for growing crops, enabling tourism opportunities and supporting their families livelihood throughout the Okanagan,” stated Nelson Jatel.
“The most fundamental contribution of the Water Stewardship Council to water resources management in the Okanagan is that it provides a consistent forum for effective, transparent, and reliable communication among the many levels of stakeholder regarding recent developments and urgent water issues. It is, if not unique, then certainly unusual in its structural position within the web of jurisdictional authorities spanning federal, provincial, municipal and First Nations governments,” stated Dr. Bernie Bauer.
“The Okanagan Basin Water Board is the hub for people to convene around when the topic is water. Its mandate is to communicate and coordinate. In the process, it is tapping into a huge reservoir of volunteers. This is what creates the energy, the will and the momentum to do business differently in the valley,” states Anna Warwick Sears.
“The Strategy brought together extensive technical information and highlighted the most important water management issues and how they connect to one another. The Strategy included recommended actions designed to protect water at its source, share water in times of shortages, manage water demand, and identify the best structure for valley-wide governance,” stated Ted van der Gulik.
“The 2010 Progress Report outlined the progress made on the Strategy’s 45 action items over the first two years. It highlighted successes to date, identified areas where more work needed to be done, discussed barriers to implementation, and suggested next steps,” stated Nelson Jatel.
FLASHBACK TO 2009: Penticton Forum showcased “Smart Planning and Living Water Smart: Approaches and Tools for Doing Business Differently in British Columbia”
“Creating a lasting legacy requires sustained commitment to make things happen. The Penticton Forum was not the be-all and end-all; rather, it was an important milestone in advancing a regional team approach that aligns local actions with provincial goals for the common good,” recalls Kim Stephens.