In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “The vital importance of water and water-related trade-offs with climate policy has largely been ignored to date. At first glance, water plays no role in the Paris agreement. Upon closer examination, however, we see that climate policy will have far-reaching implications for the availability of water and vice versa,” wrote Ines Dombrowsky.
“Adapting to climate change means investing in the right infrastructure,” says former British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt
“Recognition of the risks we face offers Canadians the opportunity to direct policies and investment in ways that support a more resilient future… we can draw upon a variety of tools located at different levels of government and authority,” says Mike Harcourt. “Ingenuity in how we fund and incentivize resilient, green infrastructure development is essential, starting now. Part of adapting to climate change means adjusting the way governments make decisions, and create policies.”
In his closing remarks at the ‘2015 Feast AND Famine Workshop’, Eric Bonham of the Partnership for Water Sustainability said: “Collaboration is essential and must cross all political and community boundaries, for climate change is no respecter of such creations”
“Future planners, engineers, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism and be able to frame the issue of achieving water-resiliency in communities against the backdrop of an unpredictable water cycle. This in turn demands the honing of a further skill, that of working together towards consensus, commitment and collaboration,” stated Eric Bonham.
BC’s new Water Sustainability Act addresses seven policy areas that bring together 19 of the 45 Living Water Smart commitments
Looking into the future, collaboratively developed Water Sustainability Plans can integrate water and land use planning and can be combined with other local, regional or provincial planning processes to address water-related issues. “The scale and scope of each plan – and the process used to develop it – would be unique, and would reflect the needs and interests of the watersheds affected,” states Jennifer Vigano.
Collaborative Watershed Governance on Salt Spring Island: Blueprint for a Resilient Response to Climate Change
“The St. Mary Lake Integrated Watershed Management Plan is a result of involvement and participation of residents, stakeholders, and community organizations who care about the long-term health of our precious watersheds,” says George Grams. “The Plan gives us the blueprint for the future, including regulations, legislation, research strategies and actions to help us meet our primary objective of improving raw lake water quality.”
“The drought that extended this past winter, spring and summer from Vancouver Island to Manitoba and from Mexico to the Yukon suggests that Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime,” stated Kim Stephens. “Lessons learned will inform how local governments move forward with a ‘water balance’ approach.”