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Contextual Resources

A SHINING EXAMPLE OF COLLABORATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We call it community-based water monitoring (rather than citizen science) because it is driven by community, and by sense of place within community, both for Indigenous and non-Indigenous stewardship initiatives,” stated Kat Hartwig, Founder & Executive Director of Living Lakes Canada, when she spoke about the Columbia Basin Water Hub, a new online tool for open source data collection and sharing


“In a national survey coordinated by Living Lakes Canada to see what groups were doing across the country, we found there had been an exponential growth in community-based water monitoring – CBWM – in Canada over 10 years. We want to ensure that CBWM, which is rather sophisticated in some parts of Canada, does not get left behind and is acknowledged and built upon in this new Canada Water Agency. During this era of biodiversity crisis and climate crisis, we need all hands on deck if we’re doing to try and build resilience into our communities,” stated Kat Hartwig.

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2019 REPORT ON PROTECTION OF DRINKING WATER: “We undertook this audit because of the considerable importance of safe drinking water and because the risks to drinking water are increasing,” stated Carol Bellringer, B.C.’s auditor general


In July 2019, Auditor General Carol Bellringer released a report entitled “The Protection of Drinking Water: An Independent Audit”. It found along with not notifying the public of potential risks, the Ministry of Health and the provincial health officer (PHO) are not sufficiently protecting drinking water for all British Columbians. The Auditor General’s report tells a classic story of how a government initiative, launched with the best of intentions, lost momentum over the years as the sense of urgency faded and other priorities took over.

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“The Fraser River would be able to supply much of the water required for food security in British Columbia,” wrote Ted van der Gulik in a co-authored opinion piece published by the Vancouver Sun (November 2017)


“The lower Fraser Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in Canada, is vital to B.C.’s long-term food security,” wrote Ted van der Gulik. “At the mouth of the Fraser, the consequences of summer droughts and rising sea levels combine to impact river water quality while at the same time increasing the need for irrigation water. Delivering the water (from the Fraser River) would require a huge investment in infrastructure.”

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Moving Towards Watershed & Water Sustainability in British Columbia: “Linking rainfall, the landscape, streamflow, groundwater and Sustainable Service Delivery has been a building blocks process,” stated Kim Stephens in his presentation to municipal engineers at the Annual APEGBC Conference (Oct 2016)


“The excellent presentation by Kim Stephens has provided me with inspiration,” commented Dr. Tom Gleeson. He teaches a course on Sustainable Water Resources for engineers at the University of Victoria. “I was really impacted by how clearly Kim has thought through organizing principles for implementing a water balance approach. I have borrowed from his slides and his thinking to develop lecture material for my course.” In his presentation, Kim Stephens referenced the work of Michael Blackstock on the need for a fundamental re-thinking of our relationship with water.

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‘Water will drive most decision-making’ in BC’s future, says 2016 Land Champion award-winner


“Because we simply will have less water. There will be larger storm events in the winter, and dealing with flooding and infrastructure, and then there will be much less water in the summertime in most communities. So climate will accelerate the sense of water shortage. I think local governments are going to start assessing the water impacts of any land-use decision that they make,” stated Deborah Curran.

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OPINION: Climate change threatens survival of Cowichan River, says David Anderson, former federal Minister of Enironment


“The Cowichan River Basin is in its third consecutive year of drought and in its eighth drought year since 1998.” wrote David Anderson. “The river is the lifeblood of the Cowichan Valley. Its salmon runs have sustained the Cowichan First Nations since time immemorial. It supports both commercial and sport fisheries, and replenishes the aquifer that provides water for local agriculture and thousands of residents. The river also provides water for the local pulp mill.”

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NEW REPORT BY POLIS: Top 5 Water Challenges that will Define British Columbia’s Future


“When you take stock of all the examples of water issues emerging across BC’s watersheds, it amounts to a daunting array of complex problems,” says report co-author Rosie Simms. “These challenges also a present a genuine opportunity to collaborate on solutions, including full implementation of the province’s recent Water Sustainability Act through development of robust supporting regulations.”

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The Salt Wedge and Delta’s Agricultural Water Supply


“The ‘salt wedge’ is a phenomenon that occurs in all tidal estuaries of the world. Salty and dense ocean water entering the river mouth forms an underlying wedge beneath the lighter fresh water that is exiting. Water that is high in salinity can reduce or destroy crop yields, affect aquatic ecosystems and damage infrastructure. The distance that the salt wedge extends up the river changes with the tides and the seasons,” wrote John Ter Borg.

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Vancouver Sun publishes 10-part series on “Water: Life blood of BC” – part 10 is about the water resources of the Okanagan Valley


“It’s my job to urge people to be cautious. I’m encouraging people to balance all these competing demands and be as conservative as possible. We can have fun in the lake and grow our crops and do what we want, but I don’t know why the lawn out here is being watered. In a drought, we should be cutting out our discretionary needs. There is now concern about how much water is in the lake and how much will be available for releases,” states Anna Warwick Sears.

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Vancouver Sun publishes 10-part series on “Water: Life blood of BC” – part 9 is about the Cowichan River on the central east coast of Vancouver Island


The Cowichan River is the lifeblood of the surrounding area of Vancouver Island, but it has been diminished by six dry summers in 12 years. The prospect of summers like 2015 becoming the norm is of deep concern to Rodger Hunter. He is Chair of the Cowichan Valley Watershed Board, which brought together politicians from local governments, First Nations and volunteers to collaborate in developing a plan with clear targets.

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