“We need both immediate-term pragmatism and visionary dedication to sustainability if we are to preserve our capacity for positive and permanent regional vitality,” observes author and visionary Eva Kras. “Vancouver Island has a huge possibility, and responsibility, to form a type of model that communities in Canada can look to for ideas, related especially to the concept of collaboration.”
“Business-as-usual is now no longer possible with the crisis that is faced by our global water resources,” wrote Rylan Dobson. “The actions that will secure our water future will be more locally driven. Referred to as either context-based or science-based sustainability, there is a greater need for the business community and watershed users to better understand their individual local boundaries and directly their actions in order to ensure they operate within these boundaries.”
Research at Simon Fraser University resulted in development of a framework for evaluating application of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). “The research provides rainwater and adaptation planners with an overview of EbA from principles to practice. The evaluation framework can be used to assess and score the extent to which provincial, regional or municipal documents incorporate EbA principles,” stated Kim Stephens.
“We are using an adaptation strategy developed around the District’s Official Community Plan (known by the acronym OCP). For a local government, everything we do is driven by the OCP. By linking our climate adaptation strategy to the OCP, this results in an enabling framework for discussion and action in the spheres of influence encompassed by the OCP. It is all linked,” stated Richard Boase.
A University of Washington report has found that the blob — a warm ocean area roughly the size of the continental U.S. — has gone, but should appear again every five years or less. “It was a pretty unusual event which no one predicted. In the future, we can expect more,” said Hillary Scannell, who co-authored a recent study of Pacific Ocean temperatures for a 65-year period dating back to 1950.
“We can no longer rely on water cycles being stationary,” concludes SFU’s Steve Conrad when reflecting on lessons communities can learn from the 2015 Drought
For British Columbians, 2015 was the year of the great drought, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. “We put systems in place thinking things are going to be stable. Now we realize that we’re going to have more ups and downs, and on a more frequent basis,” states Steve Conrad. “Appreciating the unforeseeable means we should be prepared to reduce water use, consider alternative water supplies, capture any rain we do receive, and protect vulnerable ecosystems and important water uses during drought periods.”
In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “The vital importance of water and water-related trade-offs with climate policy has largely been ignored to date. At first glance, water plays no role in the Paris agreement. Upon closer examination, however, we see that climate policy will have far-reaching implications for the availability of water and vice versa,” wrote Ines Dombrowsky.
“Adapting to climate change means investing in the right infrastructure,” says former British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt
“Recognition of the risks we face offers Canadians the opportunity to direct policies and investment in ways that support a more resilient future… we can draw upon a variety of tools located at different levels of government and authority,” says Mike Harcourt. “Ingenuity in how we fund and incentivize resilient, green infrastructure development is essential, starting now. Part of adapting to climate change means adjusting the way governments make decisions, and create policies.”
In his closing remarks at the ‘2015 Feast AND Famine Workshop’, Eric Bonham of the Partnership for Water Sustainability said: “Collaboration is essential and must cross all political and community boundaries, for climate change is no respecter of such creations”
“Future planners, engineers, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism and be able to frame the issue of achieving water-resiliency in communities against the backdrop of an unpredictable water cycle. This in turn demands the honing of a further skill, that of working together towards consensus, commitment and collaboration,” stated Eric Bonham.
Collaborative Watershed Governance on Salt Spring Island: Blueprint for a Resilient Response to Climate Change
“The St. Mary Lake Integrated Watershed Management Plan is a result of involvement and participation of residents, stakeholders, and community organizations who care about the long-term health of our precious watersheds,” says George Grams. “The Plan gives us the blueprint for the future, including regulations, legislation, research strategies and actions to help us meet our primary objective of improving raw lake water quality.”