REPORT ON A DECADE OF CUTTING EDGE RESEARCH: “We plan to work with partners to shape the future of America’s Water as a global example for climate resilience, and assured and affordable water supply,” stated Dr. Umanu Lall, Director of the Columbia University Water Center (December 2018)
“The initial mission at launch was to study, assess, understand and improve global water sustainability. It was one of the first academic efforts at a Global Water Initiative,” stated Dr. Umanu Lall. “Questions as to the state of water in the USA led to the birth of the America’s Water Initiative. This has led us to an exciting discovery of the state of water, climate induced risks, the water-energy-food nexus, the state of drinking water and clean water, and to new initiatives towards solutions for water infrastructure that assure affordable human and ecological health.”
THE STORY OF 2018 WAS CLIMATE CHANGE: “To anyone who worries about making a case for climate action based on the weather, I would simply ask: Do you have a better idea?” – David Leonhardt, New York Times
“A global heat wave. Extreme rainstorms. Severe droughts. Rapidly intensifying Gulf Coast storms. The deadliest wildfire in California history. And a presidential administration that’s trying to make the problem worse. There were more obvious big news stories than climate change in 2018. But there weren’t any more important stories, in my view. That’s why it is my choice for the top story of the year. It’s the one most likely to affect the lives of future generations,” wrote David Leonhardt.
FLASHBACK TO 2013: “The Primer on Land Development Process in British Columbia supports implementation of targets and actions listed in Living Water Smart – these establish expectations as to how land will be developed,” stated Tim Pringle when the Primer was released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability at the 2013 Annual Convention of the Union of BC Municipalities
“The Primer is a ‘bridging document’ because it illustrates how to seamlessly integrate the legal and administrative parts of the Land Development Process through the designing with nature and rainwater management lens,” stated Tim Pringle. “While much attention is given to the technical and legal aspects, we are not aware of anyone who has addressed administration. This piece of the puzzle is the key to implementation of effective rainwater management systems on private property.”
FLASHBACK TO 2012: “The Primer on Integrated Rainwater and Groundwater Management provides local governments on Vancouver Island, and beyond, with guidance for implementation of Living Water Smart principles on the ground,” stated Ted van der Gulik
“The federal-provincial Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs) Program
provided funding for development of this Primer. The purpose of the RACs
Program is to support coordinated action towards advancing regional climate
change adaptation decision-making,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “The Primer incorporates the findings of a precedent-setting groundwater research project undertaken by the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society.”
ARCTIC REPORT CARD: “The Arctic is undergoing its most unprecedented transition in human history. We’re seeing this continued increase of warmth pervading across the entire Arctic system,” said Dr. Emily Osborne, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (December 2018)
“In 2018, warming air and ocean temperatures continued to drive broad long-term change across the polar region, pushing the Arctic into uncharted territory,” stated Emily Osborne. The warmer Arctic air causes the jet stream to become “sluggish and unusually wavy”. That has possible connections to extreme weather events elsewhere on the globe, including last winter’s severe storms in the United States and a bitter cold spell in Europe known as the “Beast From the East.” The rapid warming in the upper north, known as Arctic amplification, is tied to many factors.
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: While BC communities may not be able to restore lost biodiversity, they can certainly halt its decline and consciously direct efforts toward a richer future, that is: “make where we live better” (a call to action by those who will be attending the Parksville 2019 Symposium on April 2-3-4)
“The rhythms of water are changing in British Columbia. What happens on the land in the creekshed matters to streams – thus, the time has come to reconnect hydrology and ecology! Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend a ‘watershed moment’ in Parksville,” stated John Finnie, Chair, Parksville 2019 Symposium Organizing Committee.
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: In 2008, Premier Campbell issued a call to action: “All land and water managers will know what makes a stream healthy, and therefore be able to help land and water users factor in new approaches to securing stream health and the full range of stream benefits.”
Water defines British Columbia, and the rhythms of water are changing. We are at a tipping point. Will we adapt? Will we restore balance to the water cycle? How? Will we get it right? Yes – provided the right people are in the right place at the right time to apply an understanding of science and technology to make better decisions. The challenge for engineers is to grasp the inherent complexity and unpredictability of working with natural systems. Engineers are always trying to shove nature into some form that would make it predictable and controllable.
KUS-KUS-SUM RESTORATION ON THE COURTENAY RIVER ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “Restoration will have tremendous cultural, environmental, social, and economic benefits, and the community has shown a high level of enthusiasm over the future vision for this site,” stated David Allen, CAO, City of Courtenay
A historic milestone in reconciliation and intergovernmental relations has taken place in the Comox Valley. A First Nation, a municipality and an environmental non-profit signed a MOU to purchase, restore and manage a key property in the heart of their community. “Working collaboratively with Project Watershed and K’ómoks First Nation has been an essential component of this project. As we move forward through the formal agreement process we look forward to building on this strong relationship with our partners,” stated David Allen.
OPINION PIECE: “We are at a moment of truth. Local governments are implementers. This means they can be change leaders. We can make where we live better,” wrote Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) Initiative (Vancouver Sun, September 2018)
“They can integrate climate adaptation into the activities and actions of engineered and natural asset management – or flipping it around, integrate asset management into the activities and actions of climate adaptation. Getting it right starts with recognition that hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. But getting it right depends on provincial and local government alignment to require ‘design with nature’ standards of practice for servicing of land,” wrote Tim Pringle.
DODGING DAY ZERO IN CAPETOWN: “The City has already initiated steps towards the goal of becoming a water-sensitive city by 2040. In the City’s draft water strategy, the use of rain and stormwater is included,” stated Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson
“The next step comprises the management of all water within the urban water cycle. A key component of this is rain and stormwater harvesting, which offers great growth opportunities,” Ian Neilson said. “Stormwater and rain harvesting on a large scale is an incredibly intricate and complicated process with many legal, practical, budgetary, infrastructure and other considerations. Much work is underway.” The City has a draft strategy for harvesting rain and stormwater, part of a move towards holistic water management.