British Columbia Context

LONGER, DRIER SUMMERS = DROUGHTS EVERY YEAR: British Columbia is in Year 5 of its ‘new reality’ – prominent scientists say we have crossed a threshold into a new climate regime

FLASHBACK TO 2015: “The water supply issue and concern in a nutshell can be summarized in four points: Southwest BC dodged a bullet this past summer; there have been past crises; there is a repeating pattern; and increasing water supply storage is problematic,” summarized Kim Stephens in a series of year-end interviews following the drought of 2015. “The clock is ticking. Communities need to leverage this teachable year and seize opportunities to change how the water resource is viewed and managed.”

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WATER TREATMENT ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “How can small communities have such a huge financial burden dropped on them without any financial assistance from the Provincial Government?” asks Lynne Smith, Chairperson, Saltair Water Advisory Committee

“Vancouver Island Health Authority has mandated that a filtration system, at a cost of $5M, be placed on our water supply. As a group we continue to pursue an equitable solution for all mandated filtration systems, be they small or large. Some systems have received grants but others are left without any financial assistance. Being a very small community of approximately 850 parcels, another $5M is beyond us with our current commitment of $4.5M/15 year towards our aging distribution infrastructure,” stated Lynne Smith.

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Leading by Example in BC: Water Smart Ambassador Program in the Columbia Basin region

“The lessons learned by Basin communities are relevant to any community trying to reduce peak demand driven by irrigation. To measurably reduce irrigation demand through residential water conservation outreach, you need a strong tool kit that includes good data and great personalities who are meeting people right at their homes and places of work,” said Neal Klassen.

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BC Water Use Reporting Centre Brings Water Management Into the 21st Century

“Water use reporting is more than simply meeting regulations. The more often we report, the more accurate our data is, and the more responsive we can be to shortages. The vision of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is to have a fully-integrated water system, meeting the needs of residents and agriculture while supporting wildlife and natural areas,” states Anna Warwick Sears

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The University of Victoria’s POLIS Project Thinks Beyond Pipes and Pumps – and Takes Action Towards a New Water Infrastructure in BC and Beyond

Oliver Brandes
Since 2000 the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria has filled a unique niche on campus as a place where academic and policy research meets community action. The Water Sustainability Project began at POLIS in 2003. It focuses on reorienting Canadian water management from a supply development approach toward stewardship and managing demand as priorities for governments and decision makers.

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Towards a Vision and Strategy for Water Management in Canada

“Towards a Vision and Strategy for Water Management in Canada” is a synthesis of five workshops held across Canada in 2006, which included almost 70 presentations and involved hundreds of participants from a wide cross section of sectors and regions, providing a comprehensive snapshot of the needs and opportunities that exist in terms of water management in Canada.

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