Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program for the Regional District of Nanaimo: 10 Year Action Plan Implementation Review identified key accomplishments in Decade #1 and opportunities for Decade #2 (Sept 2018)

Note to Reader:

At the Parksville 2019 Symposium, the story of how a strong foundation of public outreach and science was built over the first decade (2009-2018) of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program (DWWP) will lead into a lively discussion on opportunities and emphasis for the next 10 years of water sustainability initiatives. It is the successful cultivation of awareness and data that will inform policy and planning in order to make better land and water decisions and tackle regional water issues in the next decade.

Julie Pisani, DWWP Coordinator, will tell the story, and will also conduct an interactive session to engage the audience. “Participants will contribute to the visioning of the next decade of Drinking Water and Watershed Protection in the region,” states Julie Pisani. The article below provides context for her session at the Parksville 2019 Symposium. The article is a synthesis of a third party review of the first decade of the DWWP. The purpose of the review was to inventory the many successes, as well as some of the challenges the program has faced over the past decade. It considered actions laid out in the 2007 Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Action Plan and took stock of what has been completed, initiated or advanced, and what has not.

An Overview of Program Evolution

“Since the early 2000s, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Board has identified drinking water and watershed protection as key factors for the long term resilience and prosperity of the region. The current RDN Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan was adopted by the RDN Board in 2008, and first implemented in 2009 with a 10-year scope,” wrote Julie Pisani.

“This year in 2018, marked the 10th year of program implementation and thus the RDN initiated a third-party review of DWWP to examine achievements against the actions outlined in the Plan and evaluate program effectiveness in the first decade. External water strategy experts – Victoria-based consultants Econics – gathered data via in-depth interviews, workshops, literature review, meetings and discussions with staff and stakeholders.

“The review, completed in September 2018, identified the key accomplishments and challenges in the three main program areas of water resource awareness and education, water monitoring and science, and water policy and planning support.

Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program implementation has been characterized by numerous accomplishments, as documented in the review. The focus has generally advanced from an initial emphasis on education and outreach, proceeding to expanded effort in water science and data collection. More recently, as the program has progressed, policy and planning and refining science processes and data management has been given more attention.”

What the Implementation Review Revealed

The table below summarizes the findings, directly quoted from the consultant report.

Building on the Foundational Work

“The review revealed opportunities for the DWWP program to evolve and improve in the next operational period”, continued Julie Pisani. “Among these opportunities is engaging with First Nations in an active and meaningful way to identify the ways in which collaboration, participation and shared benefits from the DWWP program could be included in implementation strategies and activities moving forward. The review in its entirety will serve as a useful springboard to the Plan update scheduled to take place in 2019.

“The Econics report concluded in summation that “the work of the program to date has been nothing less than remarkable and highly successful” (p.34). That is attributed in large part to the vital partnerships with other agencies, industry and not-for-profit sector, the sustainable funding model in place for the program and the unique and integrated nature of the program.

“Looking forward, the Action Plan update in 2019 will serve to build on the foundational work completed and initiated to-date, and chart the course for the next decade of innovative and collaborative watershed protection activities in the region. We want to hear from the community on what the priorities, concerns and interests are for regional water sustainability during the next 10 years.

“The Action Plan update process will include several opportunities and modes for community engagement including the presentation and town-hall segment at the Parksville Water Stewardship Symposium in April 2019,” concluded Julie Pisani.

To Learn More:

For further important details and relevant context, click on 10-Year Action Plan Implementation Review to download a copy of the final report.

Stay tuned for more information. www.dwwp.ca.