Towards a Watershed Health Legacy in British Columbia: A Description of the Plan for Inter-Regional Collaboration through 2017
Watershed Health, Resilient Rainwater Management, and Sustainable Service Delivery
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is facilitating an inter-regional collaboration initiative within the Georgia Basin. The initiative is connecting the cascading objectives for Watershed Health, Resilient Rainwater Management, and Sustainable Service Delivery.
Inter-Regional Education Initiative Builds Capacity
“Launched in 2012, the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI) provides local governments on the east coast of Vancouver Island with a mechanism to collaborate, share outcomes and cross-pollinate experience with each other as well as with local governments in the Metro Vancouver region,” reports Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.”
“The IREI is led by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. Five regional districts are collaborating, namely: Capital Region, Nanaimo Region, Cowichan Valley, Comox Valley and Metro Vancouver. The IREI program:
- Helps local governments better deliver on requirements flowing from Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework
- Builds local government capacity through professional development.
- Aligns with local government priorities and staff workloads.
- Enables local governments to leverage more with the same resources.”
“It has been very interesting seeing the different approaches that the five regional governments are taking towards monitoring and assessing the health of our watersheds,” comments Jody Watson, Watersheds & Harbours Coordinator with the Capital Regional District (CRD). She is one of two CRD representatives on the IREI Leadership Team, and is also Chair of the Bowker Creek Initiative.
“Through this series of inter-regional gatherings, we have shared our successes and challenges in evaluating watershed health, learned valuable lessons from each other, and have made fantastic contacts with like-minded people doing similar work in other regions.”
“Now I can pick up the phone and call people from five different regions to say ‘Hey, how did you guys approach this problem’ or ‘Do you have any experience with this issue’ or ‘Can we use your outreach materials for our project too?’. I am really excited to see where we go next!”
A Focus on Sustainable Service Delivery
“For the upcoming period 2015-2017, the focus of the IREI work plan will be on HOW integration of service, natural asset and financial sustainability (Sustainable Service Delivery) would be implemented through an asset management process to achieve the Watershed Health Goal,” continues Kim Stephens.
“Local government capacity is built through inter-regional working sessions, cross-fertilization of experience, and deliverables (documentation of process and outcomes).
“IREI deliverables include the Beyond the Guidebook Primer Series, Watershed Case Profile Series, and Water Balance Workshop Series,” concludes Kim Stephens.
Frame of Reference for IREI Program
Passed in 2014, BC’s new Water Sustainability Act recognizes the connection between land use actions and the implications both for the water cycle and watershed health.
In December 2014, UBCM released Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. Because nature plays an integral part in a municipal infrastructure system, the BC Framework integrates natural systems thinking into asset management at a high level.
TO LEARN MORE:
The Winter 2015 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article that describes how the Partnership for Water Sustainability is championing “asset management for sustainable service delivery”.
To download and read a copy of the article, click on Watershed Health, Resilient Rainwater Management, and Sustainable Service Delivery: How they are connected?