LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “In 2019, the provincial government’s Neil Goeller had an idea for building stewardship capacity. Within three years, he successfully brought the idea to fruition as a provincial program,” stated Kim Stephens when lauding this milestone accomplishment


Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on on February 21, 2023 featured a provincial government initiative to mobilize stewardship groups and community volunteers to collect streamflow data in small creek systems where flow data are sparse to non-existent.

Measure streamflow and close a data gap in community planning

“Neil Goeller is the Unit Head responsible for Groundwater, Hydrometrics and Hydrology Programs at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. His story behind the story complements that of Dr. John Millson who we featured on February 14, 2023,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership Executive Director.

“A takeaway message common to both stories is how stream stewards can collaborate with governments and resource managers to support a science-based approach that interweaves Indigenous knowledge to educate the population writ large about the fragile nature of the “water balance” in local creeksheds.”

“Neil Goeller brings a provincial government perspective to the Watershed Moments team. He had an idea for building stewardship capacity, and with the energy generated by the Parksville 2019 Symposium, he successfully brought the idea to fruition as a provincial program.”

“When I interviewed Neil about the story behind his successful initiative, three key ideas emerged. Suffice to say, Neil is passionate about collaboration with stream stewards. Within his “story behind the story”, I believe Neil Goeller has seeded the idea for a second self-fulfilling prophecy!”

Indigenous knowledge helps us make sense of the hydrology numbers

“In my mind, traditional knowledge and western science are just different ways of recording, or documenting, and communicating the same information. I believe there is an analogy between Indigenous oral history, and a statistical approach called Bayesian analysis,” Neil Goeller stated during a conversation with Michael Blackstock in 2022 about Blue Ecology.

“In BC, we are lucky when we have 60 years of reliable records, possibly extending out to 100-plus years. When I reflect on the short-term context for hydrometric data collection in this province, there is no doubt in my mind that Indigenous knowledge would expand our horizon and help us make sense of the numbers in a larger context,” he concluded.


To read the complete story published on February 14th 2023, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Measure streamflow and close a data gap in community planning.