Towards Watershed Sustainability: 2008 "Call to Action" connected the dots between the Water Balance, land development practices, a changing climate and "water-resiliency" in BC (Beyond the Guidebook 2015)

Note to Reader:

Drought, forest fires and floods in 2003 created a ‘teachable year’ for change. This led to the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC, released in February 2004. Action Plan success helped to lay the groundwork for the Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives in 2008. 

The article below is extracted from Part B of Beyond the Guidebook 2015. Part B is titled Align with Provincial Policy & Regulatory FrameworkTo download a PDF copy of the 2-page extract, click on 2008 Call to Action.

BYGB 2015_Campbell_call to action

Call to Action (2008)

In 2008, work over a 5-year period by a host of champions (inside and outside government) culminated in the Province’s Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives. This work built on the foundation that had been laid over previous decades. The resulting policy, program and regulatory framework enables implementation of collaborative solutions that would achieve the Watershed Health Goal.

Figure 11 in Beyond the Guidebook 2015 conceptualizes the essence of the two complementary initiatives. Scroll down and click on the image to download a PDF copy of Figure 11.

Green Communities Initiative

BC is perhaps the least prescriptive province, and BC local government is among the most autonomous in Canada. The Province enables local government by providing policy and legal tools in response to local government requests.

The enabling approach means the onus is on local government to take the initiative and implement. The Province recognizes that communities are in the best position to develop solutions which meet their own unique needs and local conditions. This is why the Green Communities Initiative has four types of building blocks, in particular partnerships.

Being Enabled Means:

Dale-Wall_Deputy-MinisterIt is exciting to see local governments acting creatively to address the pressing environmental challenges of our time. Good work in planning, service delivery and infrastructure development – that fits the unique context of individual communities –  is contributing to making our communities not only more sustainable but also better places to live,” states Dale Wall, former Deputy Minister, Community and Rural Development.

Living Water Smart – BC’s Water Plan

Living Water Smart solutions and commitments go beyond what government does, and are ongoing. Actions and targets are grouped into five themes:

BYGB 2015_Living Water Smart themes_2008


The umbrella provided by the Water Sustainability Action Plan has allowed the Province to leverage partnerships to greatly enhance the profile and resulting impact of Living Water Smart. The Partnership for Water Sustainability, a non-profit society, is playing a key delivery role in several theme areas, in particular developing tools for local government and providing training to support an environmentally adaptive approach to community design.

The outreach and education provided by the Partnership for Water Sustainability has been important in helping to realize the goals of Living Water Smart. 


Lynn-Kriwoken_120p“Living Water Smart acknowledges that what government does is only part of the solution. Living Water Smart challenges all British Columbians – individuals, families, communities, business and industry to step up and be water stewards. Embrace shared responsibility. Create a legacy for those who follow in our footsteps,” states Lynn Kriwoken, Executive Director in the Ministry of Environment. Her responsibilities encompass Living Water Smart development and implementation.

BYGB 2015_Figure 11 from Part B