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Partnership for Water Sustainability Annual Workshop Series

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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At the 2015 Feast AND Famine Workshop: “Market gardens not the answer to B.C.’s food challenges,” said Ted van der Gulik, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


Protection of farmland — including from port-related development in South Delta — is far more important, along with finding ways to better use water and to bring more irrigation to lands not suitable for growing food, said Ted van der Gulik. “I support market gardens. They’re good. It’s great to grow food in parking lots, having people grow their own food. Just don’t call them food security,” he said.

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“Feast AND Famine Workshop” attracts a large crowd to celebrate the 5th anniversary of incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


The 2015 workshop was designed to spark a conversation and ultimately inform a shared vision for ‘designing with nature’ to restore hydrologic integrity and maintain the seasonal ‘water balance’. Eric Bonham provided inspirational remarks to conclude the day. “Over the last five years water issues have become increasingly prominent within BC and beyond. The Partnership has been at the forefront of this understanding,” he said.

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Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia posts PowerPoint presentations for “2015 Feast AND Famine Workshop”


“We had a powerhouse team and the program was high-energy. Presentations were dynamic. It made a difference that team members are leaders by example; and everyone is passionate about what they do. The collective enthusiasm of the presentation team energized those who attended the workshop in Richmond. It was a memorable day,” reports Mike Tanner, Workshop Chair.

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Feast AND Famine Workshop: Flood and Drought! – What Happened to the Balance?


Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime. Kim Stephens will introduce three provincial ‘game-changers’ that enable restorative development in British Columbia. “Now, however, we are at a defining moment in time because the accelerating wave of land and water practitioners retiring from the work force is resulting in a loss of institutional memory,” states Kim Stephens.

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Feast AND Famine Workshop: “If a vision for food security is to be entrenched as the new business as usual by 2030…….we have a 5-year window to get the initial elements of restorative development right,” forecasts Bob Sandford


“We now realize that our current risk assessments with respect to climate disruption are built on confidence in relative hydrologic stability that no longer exists. This changes everything. We had no idea until recently of how much influence the hydrological cycle has on our day to day lives or on the broader conditions that define the distribution and diversity of life on this planet,” states Bob Sandford.

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The Salt Wedge and Delta’s Agricultural Water Supply


“The ‘salt wedge’ is a phenomenon that occurs in all tidal estuaries of the world. Salty and dense ocean water entering the river mouth forms an underlying wedge beneath the lighter fresh water that is exiting. Water that is high in salinity can reduce or destroy crop yields, affect aquatic ecosystems and damage infrastructure. The distance that the salt wedge extends up the river changes with the tides and the seasons,” wrote John Ter Borg.

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