Cowichan Valley Regional Board reaffirms support for inter-regional collaboration within Georgia Basin
Towards a Watershed Health Legacy
Led by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, 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 and with local governments in the Metro Vancouver region.
The IREI was launched in 2012. Five regions are participating: Cowichan Valley, Capital Region, Nanaimo Region, Comox Valley and Metro Vancouver.
Regional Asset Management Project: Built and Natural Systems
When the Cowichan Valley Regional Board met on April 8th 2015, it supported a request from the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC for endorsement of continued participation by the Cowichan Valley Regional District in the IREI.
“The IREI is a unique format for Georgia Basin local governments to learn from each other by sharing approaches and successes in managing our water resources,” stated Brian Carruthers, Chief Administrative Officer, Cowichan Valley Regional District.
“The IREI program will integrate natural systems and climate change thinking into asset management, as well as demonstrate how local governments can progress along the ‘asset management continuum’ to achieve the goal of sustainable service delivery for watershed systems.”
“The IREI program supports the CVRD’s Phase II Regional Asset Management Project: Built and Natural Systems. This is an important capacity building project to support the development of an asset management program for regionally funded CVRD assets. This includes examination of integrating natural systems into our asset management planning.”
Game-Changers for Watershed Health Action
“The IREI program for local governments connects the cascading objectives for Watershed Health, Resilient Rainwater Management, and Sustainable Service Delivery,” explains Peter Law, a Founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
“The initiative is designed to help local government champions integrate natural systems thinking and adaptation to a changing climate into asset management. A desired outcome is healthy streams and watersheds. So, implement ‘Design With Nature’ standards of practice for development and infrastructure servicing. Protect and restore stream corridors and fish habitat. Provide community-supporting ecosystem goods and services.”
“Released in December 2014, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework is a landmark development. Coupled with the new Water Sustainability Act, passed in May 2014, it provides local governments with a fresh impetus to do business differently. The benefits and value of Design With Nature solutions grow over time,” concludes Peter Law.
Context for Collaboration
The Partnership for Water Sustainability’s history of collaboration with the Cowichan Valley Regional District provided context for the Board Resolution: