Category:

Water Governance

TOWARDS WATERSHED SECURITY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: A report on the role of water in modernized land use planning by the University of Victoria’s POLIS Water Sustainability Project (July 2020)


“In the past decade, land and water planning by the provincial government have advanced in fits and starts. Plans were often developed in response to conflict and litigation by Indigenous Nations or by local governments and authority holders seeking to fill planning gaps. While these plans are highly local and fit for purpose, they lack provincial authority and resources making them challenging to enforce. The report titled ‘Towards Watershed Security’ provides direction to both provincial and Indigenous decision-makers by outlining the need for, and elements of, a reformed provincial land and water planning framework,” stated Rosie Simms.

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WATERSHEDS 2020: Stepping Stones to Collaborative Watershed Governance in British Columbia (a virtual forum hosted by the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project on October 15-16, 2020)


“Watersheds is an ongoing series of forums designed to inspire and nourish B.C.’s water community—an almost decade-long tradition of engaging with innovative ideas and bold thinking, building connections and networks in our freshwater community, and finding sustainable solutions to pressing problems. This forum will bring together a diverse community of water leaders in B.C. to build and deepen connections, learn from one another, and explore opportunities for improved watershed decision-making and longer-term watershed security,” stated Laura Brandes.

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A WATERSHED SECURITY FUND FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA: Position Paper on Building Resilience and Advancing Reconciliation (released November 2019)


“First Nations communities often lack the necessary financial resources to meet the demands placed upon them from Crown governments and industry, and to proactively develop and implement their own water protection plans, policies, and laws. A Watershed Security Fund would provide lasting financial support to First Nations and community partners to build and strengthen their capacity to undertake watershed stewardship, planning and governance activities for the benefit of all British Columbians,” stated Susi Porter-Bopp.

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NEW POLIS REPORT: Reconciliation, Water and Watershed Sustainability through Collaborative Consent


“Collaborative consent is about a different way of being together and building a future for Canada in which Indigenous nations assume their rightful governance role as founding nations in this country,” says co-author Merrell-Ann Phare. “There are no barriers standing in the way of BC moving in this direction. Territorial and Indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories have been leaders in a collaborative consent approach for years.”

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SHIFTING CURRENTS: How the Water Sustainability Act is Already Influencing Water Management in British Columbia (Keynote Address by Partnership for Water Sustainability at Landscape Architects Annual Conference, April 2016)


Kim Stephens and Ted van der Gulik of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC co-presented the keynote. “Licensing 20,000 wells initially seemed daunting when a provincial group met to brainstorm an approach to this immense task. The team had to solve the challenge of HOW to help groundwater users reliably quantify their annual water licence volumes. Suffice to say, the brainstorming resulted in a solution,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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NEW REPORT BY POLIS: Building Capacity for Watershed Governance in BC


An in-depth analysis of perspectives, emerging trends and opportunities associated with watershed governance and water sustainability. “Decision-makers, communities, rights holders, licensor holders, and stakeholders cannot operate in silos. Rather, they must develop a collective, shared vision for their local watersheds and how to better manage resources for the benefit of users, local economies and nature to achieve long-term watershed health,” says Natasha Overduin.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Forum This Fall to Explore New Approaches to Freshwater Decision-Making in B.C. (Sept 2016)


The forum will engage B.C.’s freshwater stewards and leaders in a strategic dialogue of best strategies to support shared governance in the province. “B.C. is on the cusp of national – even international – leadership for shared decision-making on fresh water. This event can help propel those conversations, sketching out implementation for water governance that actively includes local communities in the process,” states Lindsay Telfer.

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Managing One Water Resource: Putting the “Sustainable” in British Columbia’s Water Laws


“For the first time in B.C., groundwater is now regulated which means that the province is now managing surface water and groundwater as exactly what they are: one interconnected resource,” states Oliver Brandes. “The coming into force of the Water Sustainability Act is only one part of the long journey to a truly substantial, sustainable water law regime. The very best tools in the new Act’s tool box to protect water for nature are still being developed.”

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BC’s new Water Sustainability Act addresses seven policy areas that bring together 19 of the 45 Living Water Smart commitments


Looking into the future, collaboratively developed Water Sustainability Plans can integrate water and land use planning and can be combined with other local, regional or provincial planning processes to address water-related issues. “The scale and scope of each plan – and the process used to develop it – would be unique, and would reflect the needs and interests of the watersheds affected,” states Jennifer Vigano.

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Op-Ed: Water Legislation Just the First Step for British Columbia- say Oliver Brandes, Deborah Curran and Rosie Simms of the University of Victoria


“The Water Sustainability Act has much to offer, but there are still ongoing concerns,” says Rosie Simms.”While the drought of summer 2015 may now seem a distant memory with November’s torrential downpours and fresh snowfalls, B.C. must prepare for long-term future water uncertainties. Following through on implementing the Water Sustainability Act is a critical step to ensure future water challenges do not become debilitating water crises.”

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