Water is a Form-Maker: Partnership for Water Sustainability showcased Ecological Accounting Protocol at FLOWnGROW workshop in the Okanagan (Nov 2016)

Note to Reader:

On November 29, 2016 the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (PWSBC) and the Irrigation Industry Association of British Columbia (IIABC) joined forces to co-host a workshop that built on the precedent established in 2013 with “Get Your Mind Into the Gutter: A Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting in British Columbia”.

This year the workshop addressed both immediate and long term water security issues in the Okanagan Valley. For this reason, the Okanagan Basin Water Board was also a co-host. The Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia was a workshop sponsor and Bob McDonald, host of Quirks & Quarks on CBC Radio was the headline keynote speaker.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Download Flow and Grow! – Balancing Economy, Ecology and Settlement in the Okanagan


Science-based Understanding + Inter-generational Commitment = Water-Resilient Communities

“Water is a form-maker. It defines communities. Also, water-centric decisions ripple through time,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

kim-stephens_dec2015_dsc_0556_120p“Choices made today will determine what the future looks like. Over time, will our decisions result in cumulative benefits or cumulative impacts?”

“To help communities make informed choices that would create a desirable future, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is dedicated to mainstreaming bold ideas in a pragmatic way.”

“Through an approach that is inclusive, we draw attention to leading thinkers and to ideas that would transform how communities tackle critical issues.”


Economy, Ecology and Settlement in Balance

The FLOWnGROW workshop was the fourth in a series of annual events. The theme for each is a bold idea. For those participating in the series, it has been a building blocks process.

Ted van der Gulik_DSC_0585_Sep2015_120p“Whether discussing the economy or ecological challenges, the significance and relevance of the findings from Flow and Grow is that they will be replicable throughout the province and beyond,” continues Ted van der Gulik, Partnership President.

“The reason for this applicability is that the workshop focus was on the impacts of climate change and the need to plan now for a water sustainable future.”

To Learn More:

Visit the homepage for the FLOWnGROW workshop to read a a comprehensive set of articles:



Ecological Accounting Protocol –
An Idea Whose Time Has Come

“Tim Pringle’s presentation on ecological accounting was well received based as it is on the assumption that water ecology is the driving force of all living systems,” wrote Eric Bonham, a founding member of the Partnership, when he reflected on what was Eric Bonham (2009)_120paccomplished at the workshop

“Designing with nature is both timely and effective. And ecological accounting is the effective tool to take us there. Ecological accounting, once truly embraced, could significantly influence our approach to planning our communities assuming a designing with nature ethic.”


Watersheds as Infrastructure Assets

“The Ecological Accounting Protocol (EAP) is an economic tool to make real the notion of ‘watersheds as infrastructure assets’. Local governments would use EAP to develop a more complete financial picture,” states Tim Pringle.

tim-pringle_2008_120pHe is the Past-President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. Currently he is the Chair, Ecological Accounting Protocol Initiative.

“Sustainable service delivery would then be more robust with the inclusion of the value and costs associated with the use of services from natural assets as municipal infrastructure,” continues Tim Pringle.

“A conceptual framework of analytical approaches is well developed.”

The Watershed is the Driver

“The emphasis in using the Ecological Accounting Protocol would be on adaptive management design, rather than a prescriptive approach. The essence of EAP is that: Optimum Infrastructure Design = Watershed Health.”

“Optimum implies preserving hydrologic integrity plus achieving best opportunity-cost outcome in the long-term.”

“The watershed defines what goes into EAP. Or expressed another way, the watershed is the driver, not the tool.”

“Practitioners would use EAP to answer engineering and economic questions in dealing with site-specific factors.”

“EAP would enable local governments to tackle the 20-80 rule for life-cycle costs,” concludes Tim Pringle.

To Learn More:

Getting the Most from Infrastructure Assets: The idea of ecological accounting (Part 1 of 2)

Getting the Most from Infrastructure Assets: Ecological Accounting Protocol (Part 2 of 2)