LAND DEVELOPMENT AND WATERSHED PROTECTION CAN BE COMPATIBLE: “Circa 2000, the Regional District of Nanaimo was the partner region for B.C.’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook. The RDN undertook a case study demonstration to test a watershed-based approach to land planning. The process planted seeds. These ultimately bore fruit with the 2008 referendum which created the Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Service,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability (March 2022)
Note to Reader:
The progress of a transformational process such as Living Water Smart in British Columbia is measured in terms of decades, not years. It is a journey. There is no short cut. In Decade One, build consensus and get the foundation in place. In Decade Two, erect the framework for action. Entering Decade Three, one should be ready for the bold leap forward.
The story of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program (DWWP) exemplifies and embodies all of the above. It took a decade of hard work to create the DWWP through a precedent-setting referendum. In 2008, voters approved a parcel tax as a financial mechanism for assured program funding. The program is now in its second 10-year Action Plan. The program is defined by partnerships, internal and external.
Strong, informed, and enduring political leadership is a foundation piece for the Nanaimo region’s Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program
“Viewed through a multi-decadal lens, three distinct eras provide structure for telling the story of the RDN journey and DWWP evolution. First, the period from 2000 through 2008 is bracketed by the case study process for Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, and the successful referendum,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, in March 2022 when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Strong, Informed, and Enduring Political Leadership is a Foundation Piece”.
“After that, DWWP Action Plan 1.0 covers the ten years from 2009 through 2019 (aka the First Decade). Currently underway is DWWP Action Plan 2.0 (aka the Second Decade) for the period 2020 through 2030. The rainwater management emphasis closes the loop on the whole-system, water balance approach that was initiated 20 years ago with the Guidebook.”
DWWP Genesis…. Know One’s History!
“Circa 2000, the RDN was the partner region for the Guidebook. The RDN undertook a case study demonstration to test a watershed-based approach to land planning. The process planted seeds. These ultimately bore fruit with the 2008 referendum which created the DWWP Service.”
“The Guidebook was developed to support the rainwater management component of Liquid Waste Management Plans (LWMP) as required by the Province. Two decades later, the DWWP is the service delivery model for the Rainwater Program under the RDN’s LWMP. This directly links the two programs.”
DWWP perspective on water as a metaphor for collaborative leadership
“The metaphor of water is relevant when talking about the incremental progress evolving land and water management in the RDN. Water flowing as a river and slowly washing over river rocks takes a while to shape those rocks. Meanwhile, the river channel itself is incrementally changing over time, is the way Julie Pisani, DWWP Program Coordinator, describes DWWP evolution,” continued Kim Stephens.
“Water teaches us that progress is not always going to be a firehose. Sometimes it is going to be more like a trickle, or a pool. The ultimate process, one that will never be done, is to figure out how we can manage land and water and people and everything that comes along with it, concludes Julie Pisani.”
DWWP experience would inform the Watershed Security Strategy and Fund
“The RDN is one of five regional district partners in the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI). The Partnership for Water Sustainability functions as the secretariat for this collaborative initiative. The IREI purpose is to facilitate peer-based education among local governments on the east coast of Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland,” explained Kim Stephens.
“In March 2022, the Partnership released Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Watershed Security Strategy is a Building Block. This was the Partnership’s submission to the Province. A key message is that the Province has much to learn from the long-term experience of the RDN and the other IREI partners.”
An opportunity for the Province to re-engage:
“The Province has been absent from local government processes for the past decade, resulting in a leadership vacuum. Now, however, there is a golden opportunity for the new Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship to leverage decades of collaboration to accelerate progress towards Watershed Security Strategy outcomes.”
“The Partnership has urged the new Ministry to deliver a consistent, unified message about Living Water Smart expectations. Only the Province can say, pay attention. Doing this would help align provincial, regional, and local actions for the common good as it relates to water sustainability in a changing climate,” concluded Kim Stephens.
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete story published on March 22nd 2022, download a PDF copy of “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Strong, Informed, and Enduring Political Leadership is a Foundation Piece”.
DOWNLOAD A COPY: https://waterbucket.ca/wcp/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2022/03/PWSBC_Living-Water-Smart_Political-Leadership_2022.pdf
Living Water Smart transcends governments
Living Water Smart as an idea transcends governments. The vision is to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate. This means embrace “design with nature” solutions that reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes.
Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. Downloadable versions of the Partnership’s weekly e-newsletters are available on the waterbucket.ca website at Living Water Smart in British Columbia: The Series.