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Living Water Smart: The Series

LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The challenges we face today are immense, but we just have to keep plugging away. I spend so much time with children; that is one of the reasons that led me to write the book The Little Creek That Could. My grandchildren were my source of inspiration,” stated Mark Angelo – conservationist and founder of BC Rivers Day and World Rivers Day (January 2022)


“The Little Creek That Could starts off talking about the kinds of things I did as a little boy beside creeks – skipping stones, looking for critters or fish or any aquatic insects I could find. The book goes full circle in that it is the kind of thing I do with my grandkids, just as I did as a little boy. It was those experiences as a child that helped cultivate my love for creeks and streams, and the fascination I have always had with moving water. Growing up, I observed that there was a lot more life closer to creeks and streams than away from them. Those memories have had a huge influence on my life and career,” stated Mark Angelo.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Dealing with life-cycle realities is such a challenging area of engineering and utility asset management to think about. Many other fields of engineering have already been through multiple life cycles of the asset. They have already felt the pain of not doing it right,” stated Daniel Horan, Director of Engineering and Public Works, when he explained Oak Bay’s Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan (January 2022)


“Oak Bay is now coming to grips with how to deal with three parallel streams of effort all at once. There is the current maintenance load that must be done. There is also the maintenance backlog that must be cleared. On top of maintenance, we are also expanding the total amount of capital infrastructure work that we are doing,” stated Daniel Horan. “Infrastructure replacement is as big challenge for the next 50 years, as it was 100 years ago when community infrastructure systems were first being installed. But this challenge is not on everyone’s radar. Yet it is fundamental to what it means to live in a community now.”

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Blue Ecology is an idea whose time has come. If British Columbia water managers would embrace the Blue Ecology ecological philosophy, our communities would become more water-resilient, and we would successfully adapt to a changing climate,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (January 2022)


“Blue Ecology has been a two-decade long journey of discovery for Michael Blackstock, highlighted by his appointment to a UNESCO Expert Panel for a 4-year term in 2008. His work on the Expert Panel resulted in an invitation to share his Blue Ecology message at an international symposium held in October 2008 by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. Michael laid out the case for an attitude change and culture-shift related to water. Since then, he has written and/or contributed to a series of books that build on this theme,” stated Kim Stephens.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “More hard surfaces in the uplands means more surface runoff volume is discharging into the agricultural lowlands. And the increased flows in streams are over longer durations. This is the real issue,” stated Ted van der Gulik, former Senior Engineer in the Ministry of Agriculture, when he explained the ARDSA criteria that have defined design practice for a half-century


“In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, ARDSA was a Federal and Provincial capital program that funded rural irrigation water supply, rural drainage infrastructure as well as rural electrification projects. The rules were quite strict. Projects were required to have a return on the investment greater than 1. In other words, the value of the increase in agriculture production due to project implementation had to return more than the original cost of the project over a 20-year time frame, in net present value dollars at the time of project approval,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Many readers tell us that they are inspired by the stories that we share,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (June 2021)


“Each week, from September through June, we celebrate the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan. Feature stories published weekly on Waterbucket eNews constitute a legacy resource. To make them readily accessible and sharable, many of these stories are now downloadable as report-style documents. In the Living Water Smart Series, featured authors explore specific themes, with an objective of helping others make a difference in the communities in which they live,” stated Kim Stephens.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We will be successful when community development is guided by a vision that  embraces ‘design with nature’ approaches to reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes,” stated Peter Law, a Founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, when he provided context for the Partnership’s Living Water Smart Series (May 2021)


“Released in 2008, Living Water Smart was the provincial government’s call to action, and to this day transcends governments. With Living Water Smart as its starting point, the Partnership has a primary goal, to build bridges of understanding and pass the baton from the past to the present and future. The Living Water Smart Series is an integral part of the knowledge-transfer process. In the Series, featured authors explore specific themes, with an objective of connecting dots. The Partnership goal is to facilitate understanding of how to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate,” stated Peter Law.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Our key message is: Get it right at the front-end for long-term sustainability. All those involved in land development have a role to play in achieving Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Judy Walker, Village of Cumberland, when she provided context for the Comox Valley regional response to the infrastructure funding gap at the 2011 State of Vancouver Island Economic Summit


The initial capital cost of municipal infrastructure is about 20% of the life-cycle cost; the other 80% largely represents a future unfunded liability. “The change in approach starts with land use planning and determining what infrastructure and services can be provided sustainably, both fiscally and ecologically. Sustainable Service Delivery means integrate land use planning and infrastructure asset management. Our goal in sharing Comox Valley experience was that other local governments would be inspired to apply what they have learned from us to their own situations,’ stated Judy Walker.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “A good idea is immediate, but preparation for implementation can take 5 to 10 years. Change will then take place quickly. It has taken patience and consistent messaging over the past decade to incrementally build consensus, facilitate a culture change, and start implementing a new way of doing business,” stated Glen Brown when announced release of Beyond the Guidebook 2010 at the UBCM Annual Convention, at a study session for elected representatives


“In 2005, we said this would be a different kind of guidebook. We said that the Guidebook would be the ‘telling of the stories’ of how change is being implemented on-the-ground in BC. Before the chapters could be written, however, the regional case studies had to run their course. Five years later, Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is the story of how we got to here and where we are going next. If one goes back 10 years, there was a void of policy and legislation. This led us down an educational path as the logical alternative. We took the Stormwater Planning Guidebook, which is a document released in 2002, and we moved it to implementation,” stated Glen Brown.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Research by Jane Wei-Skillern offers insights into how champions in the local government and stream stewardship sectors can ensure that their collaborative efforts can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (November 2021)


“At the beginning of 2021, the Partnership leadership reflected on our long-term commitment to collaborative leadership and growing a network. From the outset, we had vowed never to fall into the trap of concentrating our energies on building an organization and thus losing sight of ‘the mission’. This view of the world reflected our history as a roundtable,” stated Kim Stephens. “Are there other precedents for our approach, we wondered? Or are we unique? We decided it was time to research the social science literature to definitively answer these and other questions.”

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The Agricultural Water Demand Model is the springboard platform for development of additional web-based tools, notably the BC Agriculture Water Calculator, which supports groundwater licensing by the provincial government,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability


“Ted van der Gulik had a mandate that allowed him to put his ideas into practice through province-wide implementation of the Agriculture Water Demand Model (AWDM). The power of the tool is found in the provincial 500-metre gridded climate dataset, a North American first. Because it generates solid data on agricultural water need, the AWDM is the tool of choice for doing a Water Sustainability Plan. Work is required in other sectors, notably fisheries, to similarly apply a science-based approach and in so doing generate solid numbers to quantify their needs,” stated Kim Stephens.

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