Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act Released
Water Act Modernization – Process to Date
Engagement on Water Act Modernization began with the launch of the Living Water Smart Blog in December 2009. The Ministry of Environment spent much of 2010 engaging with stakeholders, First Nations and the public on Water Act Modernization. The Ministry released a Discussion Paper in February 2010 and delivered 12 regional workshops during March and April 2010.
About 900 submissions were received from a broad range of interests and citizens, and are summarized in the Water Act Modernization Report on Engagement, which was released in September 2010.
The Ministry of Environment has now released its Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act and is initiating a second round of engagement that will continue into January 2011. The Policy Proposal summarizes the overall framework of a modernized Water Act.
“During the first round of engagement on modernizing the Water Act, British Columbians asked us for another opportunity to participate,” said Environment Minister Murray Coell. “That’s why we are now asking them to review the policy proposal and let us know what they think.”
“The proposal reflects background research, review and analysis by government staff and extensive input from British Columbians. External advisors from a range of sectors also provided assistance in the development of the proposal.”
A new Water Sustainability Act
The Water Sustainability Act is for British Columbia – its communities, its environment and its economy. It will help lighten BC’s water footprint and transition to a new way of managing water. Water in some parts of BC is already under pressure from a number of competing demands, and these demands continue to increase. Urban, land and resource development, climate change and population growth all affect ecosystems, and ground and surface water quantity and quality.
“The proposed Water Sustainability Act (WSA) will update and build on the current Water Act. The WSA will respond to current and future pressures on water, and position B.C. as a leader in water stewardship. The Policy Proposal summarizes the overall framework and key features of the WSA,” explains John Slater, Parliamentary Secretary for Water Stewardship.
The Water Sustainability Act (WSA) will establish a new legislative framework that will address BC’s geographic and hydrologic diversity. The new Act will reflect the Provincial Government’s leadership and encourage British Columbians to be responsible water stewards. It will support climate change adaptation and economic security and help ensure that water sustainability is considered in all decisions affecting water.
The WSA will establish a provincial framework based on risk, competing demands and scarcity, and enable an area-based approach for water management.
Using an area-based approach means that local conditions, issues and interests, and local knowledge and information, including traditional ecological knowledge, will influence water management and help inform decisions.
“All British Columbians have a role to play in ensuring a sustainable future for water. Government is interested in your feedback on the Policy Proposal to help us make sure we are continuing to move in the right direction. Beginning in January 2011, Ministry of Environment staff will explain key features of the WSA in greater detail on the Living Water Smart Blog,” concludes Environment Minister Murray Coell.
To Learn More:
To download a copy of the document, click on Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act. To read stories published previously on Water Bucket, click on the links below:
Posted January 2011