Partnership for Water Sustainability launches Inter-Regional Education Initiative on Vancouver Island

Rainwater Management:
Integrating the Site with the Watershed and the Stream

Vancouver Island is a hot-bed of progressive ideas and provincially significant initiatives. In particular, four regional districts and their member municipalities have been taking steps to plan for water sustainability and put in place implementation strategies. The four are:

  1. Comox Valley Regional District
  2. Regional District of Nanaimo
  3. Cowichan Valley Regional District
  4. Capital Regional District

These regions are advancing watershed-based strategies and programs for integrating the site with the watershed and stream. Inter-regional sharing, collaboration, alignment and consistency will accelerate effective implementation of watershed protection objectives within each regional district.

Developing Local Government Talent

“Through the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island initiative, and commencing in 2007, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC has collaborated with each regional district to deliver elements of an information-sharing and educational program. This approach has helped build relationships; and it has also helped develop local government talent,” reports Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director, and a founding member of the CAVI Leadership Team.

“The experience and insights yielded by the CAVI program to date are described in Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Protecting and Restoring Urban Watersheds in British Columbia. This provincial guidance document presents the framework for a ‘regional team approach’ to water and watershed sustainability.”

“Now, the Partnership is implementing the next evolution of the CAVI educational program. Over a two-year period, the program goal for an Inter-Regional Education Initiative is to enhance collaboration and increase alignment of efforts across boundaries,” says Kim Stephens.

Inter-Regional Education Initiative

“Under the CAVI umbrella, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is collaborating with local governments in four regions to implement the Inter-Regional Education Initiative. This initiative will provide the pathway to a consistent approach to water sustainability and green infrastructure up and down the east coast of Vancouver Island,” states Tim Pringle, Partnership President.

“Recognizing that each region has already established its ‘vision and goals’ through a community consultation process, our  emphasis is on the ‘what would it look like’ details of implementation and integration. Inter-regional collaboration will result in alignment and a consistent approach to rainwater management in a watershed sustainability context. This will help everyone to go farther, more efficiently and effectively.”

“In the first half of 2012, an educational event will be held in each of the Cowichan Valley, Comox Valley, Nanaimo Region and Capital Region. The common theme will be: Sustainable Rainwater Management: What Does It Look Like?”

“The Inter-Regional Education Initiative will focus on actions related to land use and watershed health on Vancouver Island,” concludes Tim Pringle.

Framework for Collaboration

The approach in bringing together four regions is shaped by these considerations:

  1. All four regional districts have over-arching plans in place.
  2. All four have funded activities that they are planning to do in 2012 and beyond.
  3. While the four regions are linked by common interests, they are not dependent on each other.
  4. Collaboration, alignment and consistency will create opportunities for everyone to be more effective.
  5. CAVI educational program will align with regional priorities and workloads, not add to workloads.
  6. The inter-regional program will link activities so that everyone can share experiences, benefit from lessons learned, and align efforts with the Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives.
  7. Each region may host up to four “learning and sharing” events during the 2-year period 2012-2013

Derek richmond (160p)“Each region has developed a provincially significant plan or approach to achieve water and watershed sustainability,” observes Derek Richmond, Manager of Engineering wiht the City of Courtenay, and CAVI Chair. “All are striving to implement a consistent regional approach that protects and/or restores natural watershed function over time. All are advancing watershed-based strategies and programs for integrating the site with the watershed and stream. These initiatives all recognize the importance of instilling a land ethic that respects water.

Program Launch in Cowichan Valley

On March 28, the Cowichan Valley is hosting the kick-off event for the 2012 program. The venue is a LEED facility on the Duncan campus of Vancouver Island University.

Kate miller (160p) - cowichan valley regional district“Five local governments comprising the Cowichan Valley Regional Team will report out on how each has progressed since 2008. Our emphasis will be on “targets and criteria”, lessons learned, and practices necessary to protect stream health. Regulatory agencies and other local governments will also be sharing their insights at the WBM Forum.”

For more information, click on Cowichan Valley Regional Team hosts Water Balance Model Forum; and also click on the image below to download  the AGENDA PREVIEW.