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Convening for Action in British Columbia

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DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Bowker Creek Blueprint is a Beacon of Inspiration” released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in September 2021


“The fact that we have been given direction by City Council to move the Bowker Blueprint forward and look for opportunities to daylight the creek means everything. Unless you have the high level ‘this is what we want to do’ permission, pushing it up from the bottom really does not work. It really feels like there is momentum right now. Even if it takes another 50 or 100 years for us to get the creek daylit, the fact is we are in place where we are moving steps closer,” stated Brianne Czypyha.

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DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Lack of Groundwater Licensing is a Crisis in the Making” released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in September 2021


BC’s Water Sustainability Act (WSA) is once-in-a-generation, transformational legislation. The 6-year transition period for groundwater licensing ends on March 1, 2022. The dilemma is that a mere 1 in 5 historical groundwater users have applied for a licence. “If ‘someone’ does not ‘fix’ the groundwater licensing problem, it will get messy for everyone after March 1, 2022. It seems inevitable that government will be forced to act against unlicenced groundwater use. There are a few scenarios that have already come forward in the past few years that indicate what the future may look like,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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CONTEXT AND HISTORY REALLY DO MATTER: “In the moment, extreme events can be overwhelming. But the big picture situation is by no means hopeless. My key message is to view climate change as another variable, not a driver. Understand the system context because climate adaptation is about water, whereas climate mitigation is about carbon,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (Sept 2021)


“The risks are real. Droughts affect all of us. BC is on fire and streams are drying up. We do not have the luxury of time to implement solutions. And we certainly cannot afford to reinvent the wheel due to generational and/or corporate amnesia. Context and history really do matter because it takes a career to develop perspective and understanding of what works and what does not. Because there is no silver bullet, communities need to do many little things to adapt to the new climate reality,” stated Kim Stephens.

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DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Adapting to Climate Realities / Context and History Do Matter!” released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in September 2021


“Every generation is handed a world that has been shaped by their predecessors – and then seemingly forgets that fact. New generations have a habit of collectively forgetting how positive social change comes about through the dogged activism of minorities once shunned. But if the most recent generation is forgetful about the positive steps and changes handed to them by their forebears, then so too can they fail to notice how those predecessors have damaged the world too,” stated Richard Fisher.

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HIDDEN VALUE OF INTERGENERATIONAL COLLABORATION: “My experience is that collaboration between the generations is easier than most people think and the generational differences are not that wide. Also, intergenerational teams are much more innovative,” stated Kate Rushton, UK-based community strategist


“Two years ago I attended my first intergenerational innovation challenge. It was not my last. Afterwards, I occasionally thought about this new way of working. It sparked my interest in intergenerational co-creation. Not only as a way to build bridges between generations but as a way to innovate in general. By using an older adult’s experience-based knowledge, which is known also known as deep smarts, and the younger generation’s fresh eyes and new perspectives intergenerational co-creation can help create more rounded solutions,” stated Kate Rushton.

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DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Communicating with Plain Language is a Guiding Principle,” released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in September 2021


“By focusing on Vancouver, New York City, Auckland, Sydney, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam I plan to capture a global picture. One area I am particularly interested in is communication, or the lack thereof. In the sciences, one of the largest challenges to research is science communication. A lot of fantastic studies are misinterpreted outside of scientific circles because the language, style and meaning of science writing is very different to non-specialists. With climate change studies, this can lead to a serious disconnect between climate change policy and the supporting research,” stated Charles Axelsson.

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WATCH THE VIDEO: “The Partnership for Water Sustainability has its roots in government – provincial, federal, and most importantly, local government. Over three decades, the Partnership has evolved – from a technical committee in the 1990s,to a water roundtable in the first decade of the 2000s, to a legal entity in 2010,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director, in his remarks as part of the Bowen Island Climate Conversation (July 2021)


“Incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability as a non-profit society allows us to carry on the Living Water Smart mission. We are growing a network, not building an organization. In terms of my professional career as a water resource engineer and planner, I have been in the right place at the right time, and with the right people. In a nutshell, my responsibilities revolve around delivering the Water Sustainability Action Plan through partnerships and collaboration, through a local government network,” stated Kim Stephens.

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ARTICLE: “Restore the Balance in Water Balance – Climate Change is Another Variable When Planning for Sustainable Service Delivery, Dealing With Uncertainty, and Managing Risk,” (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2021)


“A constant challenge for planning is not to prevent past events, but instead is to use past experiences to inform and create flexible strategies for the present and the future. Furthermore, this need for flexibility is not restricted to the immediate scope of the problem at hand; but must also consider the broader juggling of evolving local government priorities and service demands. This leads to the challenge of assessing problems with sufficient complexity to arrive at flexible and resilient solutions, while at the same time not being overwhelmed and paralyzed by over-analysis,” stated Robert Hicks.

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DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Groundwater Users Put on Notice,” released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in July 2021


“Government needs to ensure that they communicate ALL of the ongoing financial risks to historical businesses and the potential devaluation of their properties, if they miss the deadline. I believe that it is very important to be crystal clear about the impacts of the end of the transition period given how the law is written. In addition to government’s two-pronged responsibility for better communication and enforcement, there is a third responsibility that all citizens can take on. We all need to recognize the importance of water as a shared resource and illegal water use is unacceptable,” stated Donna Forsyth.

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DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Training Next Generation of Land Use Professionals”, released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in June 2021


“Our collaboration with regional partners is guided by a vision that working together we can increase the environmental, social, cultural, and economic sustainability of the biosphere region. VIU students have assisted with working on all the Ecological Accounting Process case study projects that have been completed in partnership with MABRRI. Both undergraduates and graduates have assisted with these projects,” stated Graham Sakaki.

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