Feast AND Famine, Flood AND Drought: How are Local Governments Responding in British Columbia?

Note to Reader:

The Spring 2016 issue of Watermark Magazine (published by the BC Water & Waste Association) includes an article that describes the Feast AND Famine Workshop held in December 2015, and co-hosted by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC and the Irrigation Industry Association of BC.

Download Feast AND Famine, Flood AND Drought: Solutions and tools for building water-resilient communities to read the complete article. 

Feast & Famine_article co-authors_April 2016

Wetter, Warmer Winters;
Longer, Drier Summers

The weather in 2015 has impacted on how the public views the BC climate and their understanding of how it is changing. There is now growing awareness that the summer dry season has extended on both ends. BC communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable precipitation to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. 2015 is a teachable year, the first since 2003. This creates a window of opportunity to implement solutions and tools developed in BC.

A Solution: Design with Nature

Adaptation to a changing climate was a unifying theme. Designed to spark a conversation that would reverberate after the workshop, Feast AND Famine shared a vision for ‘designing with nature’ to restore hydrologic integrity and maintain the seasonal ‘water balance’.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District and District of North Vancouver are incubators for water balance approaches at the regional and municipal scales, respectively. In Module B, Keith Lawrence and Richard Boase showcased solutions that their respective organizations are pioneering.


Changing How Decisions Are Made

Lawrence_Keith 2012_trimmed_120p“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground. The Regional Surface and Ground Water Management and Governance Study identified co-governance with First Nations as a primary condition for success in managing regional water resources,” stated Keith Lawrence, Senior Environmental Analyst with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Whole Watershed Thinking

“It is proposed to apply whole watershed thinking and follow a risk-based approach to decision-making and management across the region. Currently, over 60 distinct organizations play a role in the governance, management, and stewardship of water resources in the Cowichan Region. Coordination between these organizations is key as we face the pressures of climate change and population growth on our resources.”

To Learn  More:

Watch VIDEO: “It is proposed to apply whole watershed thinking and follow a risk-based approach to decision-making and management across the region,” stated Keith Lawrence

To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Keith Lawrence, click on Droughts and Floods: Communicating the ‘New Normal’ in the Cowichan