Category:

Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia

RECONNECT PEOPLE, LAND AND WATER IN ALTERED LANDSCAPES: “Together we keep raising our game. And so do our collaborators. Shared successes leads to more successes. There is a track record to continue building upon.” – A Short History of The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (November 2020)


Lynn Kriwoken played an instrumental role in the creation and launching of the Water Sustainability Action Plan in February 2004. A true visionary, she immediately saw the value of the an advisory group to government at a time when BC was in transition after the 2001 election. Her advocacy within government got the ball rolling and resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Without Lynn Kriwoken, there would not have been an Action Plan. It really is that simple.

Read Article

BRITISH COLUMBIA’S PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY CELEBRATES 10-YEAR MILESTONE: “The Partnership’s guiding philosophy is to help others be successful. When they are successful, we are successful,” wrote Kim Stephens, Executive Director (November 2020)


“The Partnership is the hub for a convening for action network. We keep raising our game. And so do our collaborators. Shared successes leads to more successes. We judge progress by the distance travelled, not the distance remaining. We are optimistic about the future,” stated Kim Stephens. “In our Partnership programs, we focus attention on the 4Cs – communication, cooperation, coordination, collaboration. The 4Cs guide what we do. We live and breathe collaboration. This plays out in everything that the Partnership does. Building trust and respect starts with a conversation,” stated Kim Stephens,

Read Article

PLANNING FOR WATER RESILIENCY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “A longstanding goal of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is to find a balance between supporting those local governments who are leaders, while over time raising the bar to encourage the rest,” states Brian Bedford, A/Executive Director, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing


“The bar has been raised and no longer can a local government simply state in an application that they have a Water Conservation Plan endorsed by Council or Board resolution. Now, when a grant application is submitted, the Ministry asks for confirmation that an up-to-date plan has been approved by Council or Board resolution within the last 5 years. It is in the look ahead that one can foresee the opportunity for a local government to identify what role the BC Landscape Water Calculator could play in achieving water conservation targets and further reducing water use in the community,” states Brian Bedford.

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2009: The Water Conservation Calculator, an online tool, was unveiled by the BC provincial government at a national conference. What was the goal in developing the tool? Align provincial grant programs with water conservation targets in “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” to achieve water supply resiliency province-wide!


“Smaller communities often cannot allocate resources to traditional infrastructure projects or cannot budget for the development of water conservation and efficiency plans by service providers. The purpose of the Water Conservation Calculator is to illustrate how specific conservation measures yield both fiscal and physical water consumption savings. Water purveyors can use the tool to assist in presenting their conservation case to council and other decision makers,” stated Lisa Wright, Ministry of Community & Rural Development.

Read Article

USING SCIENCE TO ESTABLISH A LANDSCAPE WATER BUDGET: “The BC Landscape Water Calculator is linked to a 500 metre gridded climate data set covering the entire province. The tool allows any property owner in BC to zoom in to their property and quantify their landscape water needs based on climate, soil, plant type and irrigation system,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, when he announced that the online calculator is now live


“A platform re-build for the BC Agriculture Water Calculator was the opportunity to spin-off the BC Landscape Water Calculator as a stand-alone tool for use by local governments and their residents. At the same time, the City of Kelowna was implementing a landscape bylaw that established an allowable water budget at the individual property scale. Therefore, it was a natural fit for the Partnership and City to collaborate in the development of the BC Landscape Water Calculator,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

Read Article

A GUIDE TO GREEN CHOICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We are providing local government with the information to make better decisions,” stated Dr. Laura Tate, then representing the BC Ministry of Community & Rural Development, when she explained the matrix of Green Communities initiatives at the inaugural 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series


In 2008, the Ministry of Community Development developed A Guide to Green Choices to help local governments continue the extensive work they were already doing in fostering green communities. “We have a series of initiatives within the Ministry that are integrated with other broader provincial initiatives. These are seeking to help us build green communities in our province. We all benefit from having attractive, liveable communities…with a healthy natural environment,” stated Dr. Laura Tate.

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2006: “Our program emphasis shifted from ‘informing and educating’ to ‘showcasing and sharing’. We witnessed the motivational power of celebrating successes. We also recognized the need to get the story out about the leadership being shown by local government,” stated Ray Fung, Chair, when the Green Infrastructure Partnership released a report on conversations with a mayors and chairs focus group (September 2006)


“In 2005, the Green Infrastructure Partnership decided to consult with a number of Mayors and Chairs from the Okanagan, Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. We formed an ad hoc focus group to help us. We had it in our minds to write a ‘Communication Guide for Elected Officials’. We saw this filling a gap. A distinguishing feature of the focus group was that everyone had thought about how to achieve environmental, economic and social objectives through a community’s infrastructure choices,” stated Ray Fung.

Read Article

IN MEMORIAM: “Erik Karlsen was a ‘change agent’ in every sense of the word, made his mark on so many fronts, and was respected throughout,” stated Eric Bonham, a former colleague in the BC provincial government, when he reflected on the influence and impact of Erik Karlsen in bringing people with different perspectives together to find common ground


“Erik Karlsen reflected the very best qualities of a dedicated civil servant, committed to outcomes that served the common interests of the province, building partnerships that resulted in creative yet practical policies, and endlessly thinking ‘outside the box’ that oftentimes made his colleagues’ heads spin! Erik built many connections throughout his extraordinary career that included contacts within the three levels of government, the academic sector and community stewardship groups. His broad range of interests allowed him to move comfortably from one discipline to another,” stated Eric Bonham.

Read Article

DOWNLOAD: “Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia: Framework for Building Partnerships” – released in February 2004


“A roundtable of land and water champions created the Water Sustainability Action Plan. Timing is everything – a successful outcome requires that the right people be in the right place at the right time. Producing an Action Plan that was credible was made possible through a precedent-setting approach to collaboration that involved representatives of multiple  provincial government ministries. This helped us get the attention and blessing of Premier Gordon Campbell. Our approach recognized that the greatest impact on water and water resources occurs through our individual values, choices and behaviour,” stated Kim Stephens.

Read Article

IN MEMORIAM: Erik Karlsen (1945-2020) has a special place in the history of the Partnership for Water Sustainability. He was the ‘eminence grise’ during development and early years of implementing the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia


Over the course of his career in government, Erik Karlsen bridged the worlds of municipal affairs and environmental stewardship. For a generation of elected representatives, his was a familiar face in the local government setting. He was indeed one of a kind, and his ability to envision the big picture, yet identify practical steps going forward, was what made him stand out from the crowd and earned him much respect from his colleagues. Erik served the public interest – the public hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow, for the environment, for human communities, and for future generations – almost without equal.

Read Article