KEYNOTE AT COMOX VALLEY ECO-ASSET SYMPOSIUM (March 2017): "It has taken more than a decade to implement a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes possible 'water-resilient communities',"stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he elaborated on the vision for 'sustainable watershed systems'

Note to Reader:

In March 2017, the 22 environmental and ratepayer groups comprising the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership hosted a symposium to explore ‘design with nature’ solutions.The symposium spotlight was on the potentially powerful and cost-effective role that ecosystem services can play in an infrastructure strategy. Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, delivered the keynote presentation. 

We Face a Moment of Truth

“A one degree Celsius rise in global temperature means that the vapour in the atmosphere will increase by 7 percent. This manifests itself in the greater impact of the Pineapple Express. We face a moment of truth and time is of essence,” stated Kim Stephens.

Kim Stephens_IMG_5369_1_May2017_120pBut the situation is not hopeless. We have been learning. We have been adapting. We have been making progress over the past ten years. From a personal perspective, I am pleased to point out that we do have a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes it possible – yes, makes it possible – to achieve water-resilient communities.

“In terms of the process that has taken place over the last ten years, three game-changers took effect in 2014.”


“The first was the Water Sustainability Act, passed in May 2014,” continued Kim Stephens. “The second one was Develop with Care. This has just had the profile that it should have in terms of it being a game-changer. I believe the reason for that is that the champions behind it retired. You do need to have champions.

“But the lynch-pin is Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. The next step is to integrate watershed systems thinking into asset management. The BC Framework is a very significant document because it has the potential to influence behaviour quite significantly in the world of local government. If you are applying for a provincial grant, it is keyed to compliance with the BC Framework.

Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems

“Too often we talk about water and land as silos. But what happens on the land does matter! It is whether and how we respect the land that really affects what happens with water. That is a key message. It is why we are moving forward with the program for informing and educating local governments and the  stewardship sector about the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management,” emphasized Kim Stephens in his keynote address.

To Learn More:

Download What Happens on the Land Does Matter! – Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” to view the storyline for the keynote address by Kim Stephens.


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