WATER SUSTAINABILITY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED: “Our understanding of water balance as a point to build relationships continues to grow,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Watershed Moments Symposia Series on Vancouver Island (November 2022)

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on November 15, 2022 honoured Wally Wells, the founding Executive Director of Asset Management BC. Over the past decade, alignment of missions has been key to elevating Water Sustainability and Asset Management as top-of-mind priorities for local governments.

In 2017, Wally Wells connected the Partnership for Sustainability with NALT, which is the acronym for the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust. Wally did this because he is a NALT Director. His inciting action instigated what has evolved into Watershed Moments, the Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate.

Chaired by Paul Chapman who is the NALT Executive Director, the interagency Watershed Moments team is working towards Water Reconciliation. The pathway to get there is via Michael Blackstock’s Blue Ecology. This is a water-first approach to interweaving of Indigenous knowledge and Western science.



Blue Ecology is a pathway to Water Reconciliation (reflections by Paul Chapman)

In 2017, Wally Wells brought his enthusiasm for the Courtenay Eco-Asset Symposium to the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT) boardroom. He began to connect the dots for us between asset management and ecology. The meeting over coffee, with members of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, set us on the route we continue to follow today.

The Symposia Series

Beginning in Nanaimo in 2018, the idea for what has now become the Watershed Moments Symposia Series, started as a modest idea to highlight the successes and challenges of water stewardship in the Nanaimo area. This meeting brought together service providers, regulators and stewardship groups and began the nascent discussion of our common interests in water stewardship.

Our discussions led to an expanded common vocabulary. Sustainable Service Delivery, Eco-Assets and Eco-Asset Management, the Ecological Accounting Process, Riparian Deficit, Municipal Natural Asset Inventory, and watershed stewardship are some of the words in our new common tongue. The rabid environmentalist, the cold-hearted accountant and the aloof engineer could come together and focus on a common goal – Water Balance.

Our understanding of “water balance” has grown beyond the graphics of how water travels across a landscape, is absorbed or taken up to be distributed again. Water balance at a very key level is about our relationship with water and with each other. We design and build our communities based on our relationship to water. Our neighbourhoods arise from this relationship. Resilient communities will embrace the language and lessons of Sustainable Service Delivery and Eco-Asset Management.

Budgets can be aligned with best practices, ecological know-how and boots in the stream to steward the critical infrastructure that is our watersheds.

Our understanding of water balance as a point to build relationships continues to grow

The senior stewards on the land, the Indigenous Peoples that have been actively and sustainably managing these eco-assets from the earliest memories have been shut out of the conversation and decision making for too long. Real water balance is about water reconciliation – recognizing our common ground in the watersheds, and interweaving our knowledge and experience. This is the Blue Ecology path.

For NALT, Wally Wells brought us on this journey. He helped us expand our discourse and our understanding of alignment across sectors and stewardship roles.

We’ve always been in this together, now we know it too.


To read the complete story published on November 15th, 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Water Sustainability and Asset Management are inextricably linked.

DOWNLOAD A COPY: https://waterbucket.ca/wcp/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2022/11/PWSBC_Living-Water-Smart_asset-management-water-sustainability_2022.pdf