Adapting to a Changing Climate: “We try to inspire communities to have a vision of their future, what they will look like on the ground in fifty years,” says Tim Pringle


Note to Reader:

Released in February 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbiaprovides a partnership umbrella for aligning efforts and implementing on-the-ground initiatives in the local government setting. The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is responsible for program delivery, and is the hub for a “convening for action” network in the local government setting.

The Partnership believes that water and watershed sustainability in the local government setting will be achieved by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices. How BC communities get there relies on a change in mind-set and “land ethic”. The mission of the Partnership is to help facilitate that change.

The reflections below by Tim Pringle provide a backdrop for Resilient Rainwater Management: Across Canada Workshop Series on Adapting to a Changing Climate. This vignette provides a window into the collaborative process that has been underway in British Columbia for the past decade.


Collaboration and Alignment of Efforts

“After ten years of involvement with the work of The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (PWS), I feel as committed as ever,” states Tim Pringle, Director and Founding President (from 2010 through 2013).

Settlement in Balance with Ecology

“PWS continues to influence practitioners with thought provoking truths: use and conservation of land are equal values; healthy human settlement systems and ecological systems are inter-dependent; and, settlement in balance with ecology can lead to enduring prosperity,” continues Tim Pringle.

“PWS makes available tools and support services that enable practitioners to focus on water sustainability as an essential form maker of our communities. We all live in a watershed.”

A Focus on Land and Water Practitioners

“Several key individuals launched this initiative to make more sustainable engineering and planning practices for use and conservation of water in BC’s settlements,” observes Tim Pringle in reflecting on the genesis of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“Upon invitation, I agreed to join in the work, being drawn by the focus on reaching and supporting practitioners whose work influences how land and water is used or conserved for human settlement and ecological systems.”

“Planners, engineers, elected folks, members of conservation organizations, and many other practitioners in the course of their daily work make decisions that impact watersheds and water resources. They desire learning opportunities that are adapted to their career and vocational realities; to know what an innovative practice looks like – or may look like – on the ground. PWS works with them.”

Collective Expertise

“At times, I find myself amazed at the collective expertise of the volunteers who work in PWS initiatives. Their wisdom makes the work of PWS efficient; it allows a great deal to be done with very limited dollars. We collaborate with practitioners as equals and take services to their territories,” emphasizes Tim Pringle.

“The value of PWS is reflected well in its partnership with the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, joint-projects with local government partners, on-going relationships with three provincial ministries, and the support of Intact Foundation for PWS to provide a program series across Canada.” Website

“When I go to the Partnership’s website,, I am proud of the range of communities of interest, the tools available to practitioners and the public, and the commitment of PWS to look long-term.  We try to inspire communities to have a vision of their future, what they will look like on the ground in fifty years. It is a heady and satisfying task,” concludes Tim Pringle.

To Learn More:

An advocate of the “top down bottom up” principle of engagement, Tim Pringle has been a consistent champion for local involvement and recognizes the value of stewardship groups and community groups in working towards a common vision based upon universal values. To learn more about his contributions over the past decade, click on the links below:

How does a community weigh the benefits and liabilities of change driven by demand for land use?, released in August 2009

What Drives Settlement on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, released in August 2009

PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE: The Most Efficient Infrastructure is ‘Design with Nature’ – Start With Water Sustainability, posted in February 2011.

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