For British Columbians, 2015 was the year of the great drought, dwindling snow packs, melting glaciers, beleaguered salmon runs and a costly forest fire season, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. This provided context for an article written by veteran reporter Kent Spencer that speculated as to whether there is a connection with “the Blob”. He incorporated insights that he gleaned from his background interview of Kim Stephens.
Communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable precipitation to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. In April 2016, the Environmental Managers Association of BC hosted a session about the 2015 Drought. “Three speakers presented on different aspects of water scarcity and connected the dots to the Water Sustainability Act. Kim Stephens explained what needs to be done to restore the water balance in urban areas,” stated Stephanie Voysey.
Reflections on the 2015 Drought: “The past year ranks with 2003 as a defining ‘teachable year’ for a paradigm-shift,” explained Kim Stephens when interviewed by Kirk LaPointe on Roundhouse Radio
Kirk LaPointe, host of the “Our City” morning show on Roundhouse Radio, interviewed Kim Stephens about the local implications of the drought that extended from Vancouver Island to Manitoba and from Mexico to the Yukon in 2015. Kim Stephens elaborated on how he believes 2015 ranks with 2003 as a defining ‘teachable year’ for facilitating a paradigm-shift in the water ethic of British Columbians.
Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Kim Stephens informed Delta Council about Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative
“It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing. This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask ‘what will this community look like in 50 years’, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years,” stated Mayor Lois Jackson.
Reflections on the 2015 Drought: Year-end media interviews raise profile and awareness of Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
Media attention initially resulted from coverage of the Feast AND Famine Workshop. This coverage was followed by 6 newspaper, radio and television interviews featuring Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director. “In all 6 interviews, I emphasized that the ‘new normal’ in BC is drought and flooding,” says Kim Stephens. “Southwest BC dodged a bullet this past summer.”
A Perspective on Leading Change: “Bring the right people together at the right time,” stated Environment Canada’s Laura Maclean at 2007 Water Balance Model Partners Forum
“The experience of the Greater Vancouver region shows how important it is to build a network that can make things happen. Looking back, much of what we have collectively accomplished in recent years in the field of rainwater management can be traced back to relationships,” stated Laura Maclean. “We now see a comparable relationship-building process taking shape on Vancouver Island.”
For British Columbia, 2015 was the year of the great drought, dwindling snow packs, melting glaciers, beleaguered salmon runs and a costly forest fire season, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. Launched from a powerful El Nino, storms caused the single largest electrical outage in the province’s history. Dan Burritt, host of CBC Television’s “News at 6” interviewed Kim Stephens to obtain his perspective on what British Columbians could potentially expect to occur in 2016.
Drought is Top BC News Story of 2015: “The past 30 years has been a period of instability in terms of water supply,” stated Kim Stephens in a CBC radio year-end interview
“There were many stories to choose from, but with help of our audience we narrowed it down to just one. The summer drought and wildfire season has been chosen, with the help of a CBC online poll, as the top news story of 2015,” stated CBC radio host Stephen Quinn in his preamble to an interview of Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. “Why do you expect that we are going to have another drought next summer,” he asked.
Reflections on the 2015 Drought: “In engineering terms, in BC we have small margins of safety for water storage and therefore limited resiliency to adapt to a changing climate,” says the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Kim Stephens
“The issue and concern in a nutshell can be summarized in four points: Southwest BC dodged a bullet this past summer; there have been past crises; there is a repeating pattern; and increasing water supply storage is problematic,” summarizes Kim Stephens. “The clock is ticking. Communities need to leverage this teachable year and seize opportunities to change how the water resource is viewed and managed.”
Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management: Metro Vancouver technical committee introduced to work-in-progress “Beyond the Guidebook 2015”
A watershed is an integrated system, is infrastructure, and must be viewed as an asset that provides municipal services. “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, shallow lateral flow, groundwater) by which rainfall reaches streams are infrastructure assets. They provide ‘water balance services’,” stated Kim Stephens.