LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “If someone says something is not working – that barriers prevent success – then our challenge for them is: Think about what would make it work, and what are you going to do to make that alignment of goals happen? Our theme is ‘imagine’,” stated Susan Rutherford, former Legal Counsel with West Coast Environmental Law, in capacity-building presentations delivered under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan in the first decade of the 2000s
Note to Reader:
Originally published in 2009 as a Backgrounder for the Water Sustainability Action Plan outreach program, and posted for posterity on the waterbucket.ca website, the storyline for Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Shared Responsibility Underpins a Regional Team Approach to Creating Our Future connects three ideas that emerged in the process of delivering peer-based education to local government practitioners.
Moving Towards Water Sustainability and “Settlement Change in Balance with Ecology”
“A guiding principle for the Water Sustainability Action Plan program is to build capacity through sharing and cross-fertilization of experience and lessons learned. This bottom-up approach supported the rollout of Living Water Smart in British Columbia in 2008. That is the context for this ‘flashback’ in the Living Water Smart Series. Originally published in 2009 as a Backgrounder for the Action Plan outreach program, the storyline connects three ideas that emerged in the process of delivering peer-based education to local government practitioners,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability.
The first idea is that of the Regional Team Approach. In the mid-2000s, we observed that insertion of the word team in ‘regional approach’ had a profound impact on how practitioners viewed their world. We concluded that ‘team’ implies there is personal commitment and suggests there is a game plan and a coachable context. We realized that this framing is a powerful motivator.
“The second idea is that of Shared Responsibility. Our key message is that all the players in the land planning and development process must understand ‘the goal’ in doing business differently because the status quo is resulting in unacceptable consequences. This approach to peer-based education led to development of the Responsibility Matrix.”
“Susan Rutherford had a leadership role in applying her legal training and outreach experience to pull this together in a way that was readily grasped by our audiences. We used the Responsibility Matrix as a communication tool to focus all on the players in the local government setting on their individual roles and responsibilities in striving to achieve ‘the goal’.”
“The third idea is that of Settlement Change in Balance with Ecology. This idea originated with Tim Pringle. This would be the desired outcome in aligning efforts through a team approach, agreeing on ‘the goal’, and doing business differently to create a desired future that answers the question: What do want this place to look in 50 years and beyond?”
To Learn More:
Download a copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Shared Responsibility Underpins a Regional Team Approach to Creating Our Future. This is an updated version of a Backgrounder released by the Partnership in December 2009.