Water-Centric Planning

Plan with a view to water – whether for a single site, a region or the entire province. Choose to live water smart. Prepare communities for a changing climate. What happens on the land matters – therefore, take into account potential impacts of land use and community design decisions on watershed function. Look at water through different lenses. When collaboration is a common or shared value, the right mix of people and perspectives will create the conditions for change.

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WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN: The Partnership’s Water-Centric Planning community-of-interest provides a legacy record for preserving stories about “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” and adapting to a changing climate

“The partnership umbrella provided by the Water Sustainability Action Plan has allowed the Province to leverage partnerships to greatly enhance the profile and resulting impact of Living Water Smart. In effect, the Action Plan partners are functioning as the on-the-ground Living Water Smart implementation arm with local government, allowing my team to focus on legislative reform. Living Water Smart comprises 45 commitments grouped into five themes. The Action Plan has played a key delivery role in two of the five,” stated Lynn Kriwoken.

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WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN: Historical context for evolving from a community-of-interest on the website to implement and mainstream “Water-Centric Planning” in British Columbia

“Originally, this COI was to be called Watershed-Based Planning for consistency with the community planning element of the Water Sustainability Action Plan. However, federal and provincial funding enabled us to broaden the scope of the COI to encompass a spectrum of perspectives, ranging from provincial watershed planning to local government community planning. This expanded scope is an ambitious undertaking. We are excited by the challenges that integration of perspectives involves,” stated Robyn Wark.

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WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN: Metro Vancouver guidance document for a “Watershed / Landscape-based Approach to Community Planning” is the genesis for an actionable vision for water-centric planning in British Columbia

Published in March 2002 by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the “Watershed / Landscape-Based Approach to Community Planning” was developed by an interdisciplinary working group and is the genesis of “water-centric planning”. “An important message is that planning and implementation involves cooperation among all orders of government as well as the non-government and private sectors,” stated Erik Karlsen.

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PORTAGE INLET CUTTHROAT INITIATIVE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “PICI is a logical continuation of the stewardship approach our fishing club has taken since 2014 in volunteering to improve water quality and recreational opportunities through the Elk/Beaver Lake Initiative located in the headwaters of the Colquitz River,” explained Mick Collins, Victoria Golden Rods and Reels Fishing Club

“With PICI we expanded the geographical scope to two entire watersheds in a three- step systematic process. First, raise seed money through an alliance of like- minded angling groups. Secondly, create a ‘consortium’ of non-profit, corporate and small business organizations to plan a comprehensive science- based program and secure grants. Thirdly, work with all levels of government towards a clear goal. In this case habitat protection and restoration for an iconic, but often neglected, species of concern, native Coastal Cutthroat Trout,” stated Mick Collins.

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AN UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCE OF A CHANGING CLIMATE: “The influence of plants has been overlooked before. This study highlights the vegetation impacts on Arctic warming under an elevated CO2 world,” said study co-author Jin-Soo Kim, a scientist at the University of Edinburgh

The Arctic is one of the fastest-warming places on the planet —and scientists still aren’t completely sure why. This is an emerging area of research, with the exact magnitude of the effects still unclear. As a result, the effect is not well-represented —if at all —in most climate models. “There’s a chance that some model projections could be underestimating future climate change, particularly in the Arctic. More research may clarify whether that’s actually the case and exactly how much plants are contributing to the warming that’s happening all over the globe,” stated Jin-Soo Kim.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “A Watershed Security Fund offers an opportunity for government to deliver effectively on multiple commitments and would provide a mechanism to integrate policy priorities at a landscape level,” states Tim Morris, Project Director, BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative

“50 years ago, BC’s political leaders took bold action to secure our farmland by creating the British Columbia Agricultural Land Reserve. This act of vision and courage created a legacy of food security that still benefits British Columbians today. But securing our farmland was only half the job: just like farmland is the source of our food security, healthy watersheds are key to our water security. It’s time to take bold action once again to secure and sustain our critical fresh water sources forever,” stated Tim Morris.

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CELEBRATION OF LIVING WATER SMART, THE FIRST DECADE: “In 2008, ‘Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan’ was the Province’s call to action, and to this day transcends governments,” wrote Kim Stephens in an Op-Ed published by the Vancouver Sun in June 2018

“The hard work of hope has resulted in a policy, program and regulatory framework that enables community-based action to adapt to the New Normal. Living Water Smart successes are defined by collaboration and a ‘top-down / bottom-up’ approach. This brings together decision-makers and community advocates. The legislative piece is the Water Sustainability Act, one of several game-changers. A historic achievement, the Act recognizes the connections between land and water – what happens on the land matters,” stated Kim Stephens

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CHANGE THE WAY WE DEVELOP LAND TO CREATE LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES & PROTECT STREAM HEALTH IN BC: “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward,” stated Deputy Minister Dale Wall when he announced that the pilot Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series would be proceeding in two locations (May 2008)

“We have to develop models of practice. We have to develop expertise to support The New Business As Usual. Vancouver Island is the pilot region for much of this work. The approach to practitioner education is inclusive, and supports water-centric planning and a design with nature way-of-thinking. The Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series will help facilitate inter-departmental alignment and a consistent regional approach. The City of Courtenay and Cowichan Valley Regional District are partners who are helping us pilot this work,” stated Dale Wall.

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LIVING WATER SMART: A PLAN FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY – “Living Water Smart: British Columbia’s Water Plan lays out the vision and the steps needed to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and watersheds. This plan will make B.C. a leader in water stewardship,” stated BC Environment Minister Barry Penner (June 2008)

“Living Water Smart is a blueprint for cultural, environmental, industrial, community and agricultural change that will help safeguard the province’s water resources into the future. Drawing on a variety of policy measures, including planning, regulatory change, education, and incentives like economic instruments and rewards, the plan commits to new actions and builds on existing efforts to protect and keep B.C.’s water healthy and secure. More than 40 actions and targets will keep the province’s water healthy and secure,” stated Minister Penner.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “Stopping the spread of coronavirus is paramount, but climate action must also continue. And we can draw many lessons and opportunities from the current health crisis when tackling planetary warming,” stated Dr. Natasha Chassagne, University of Tasmania

“In many ways, what we’re seeing now is a rapid and unplanned version of economic ‘degrowth’ – the transition some academics and activists have for decades said is necessary to address climate change, and leave a habitable planet for future generations. Degrowth is a proposed slowing of growth in sectors that damage the environment, such as fossil fuel industries, until the economy operates within Earth’s limits,” stated Dr. Natasha Chassagne.

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2ND ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM ON PLANNING FOR RESILIENCE: “Living Water Smart lays out out the vision of where British Columbia needs to go in order to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate,” stated Kim Stephens when he represented the Water Sustainability Action Plan as a panel member on Uncertain Water Supplies (March 2010)

“When I reflect back on what I have learned in my career, I believe that clear thinking is needed more now than ever. Time and time again, I have seen how we create layers of complexity around assumptions. One of my rules of thumb is that, if you take any kind of initiative, drill down and peel back the layers of the onion until you get down to the simple assumption. So often, it tends to be flawed. Ask a different question and you will get a different answer,” stated Kim Stephens.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The team of Lynn Kriwoken, Ted van der Gulik and Kim Stephens provided insight into some of the issues around water management in British Columbia,” stated Peter Williams when he described the interactive format for the Smarter Water Management panel session at the Greenlink Conference held in Vancouver (October 2010)

GreenLink 2010 attracted an international audience and “linked” the best of the best in Sustainable Communities, Finance, Technology and Government. “It was a real pleasure to take part in the Smarter Water Management panel and in particular to hear about the far-sighted and imaginative approach that the BC Government is taking to identifying, managing and educating people about the province’s water management issues. I am sure that this approach will provide lessons for other areas that seek to address their water management needs,” stated moderator Peter Williams.

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