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Water-Centric Planning

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WATER SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN: The Partnership’s Water-Centric Planning community-of-interest provides a legacy record for preserving stories about “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” and adapting to a changing climate


“The partnership umbrella provided by the Water Sustainability Action Plan has allowed the Province to leverage partnerships to greatly enhance the profile and resulting impact of Living Water Smart. In effect, the Action Plan partners are functioning as the on-the-ground Living Water Smart implementation arm with local government, allowing my team to focus on legislative reform. Living Water Smart comprises 45 commitments grouped into five themes. The Action Plan has played a key delivery role in two of the five,” stated Lynn Kriwoken.

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LIVING WATER SMART: A PLAN FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY – “Living Water Smart: British Columbia’s Water Plan lays out the vision and the steps needed to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and watersheds. This plan will make B.C. a leader in water stewardship,” stated BC Environment Minister Barry Penner (June 2008)


“Living Water Smart is a blueprint for cultural, environmental, industrial, community and agricultural change that will help safeguard the province’s water resources into the future. Drawing on a variety of policy measures, including planning, regulatory change, education, and incentives like economic instruments and rewards, the plan commits to new actions and builds on existing efforts to protect and keep B.C.’s water healthy and secure. More than 40 actions and targets will keep the province’s water healthy and secure,” stated Minister Penner.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “Stopping the spread of coronavirus is paramount, but climate action must also continue. And we can draw many lessons and opportunities from the current health crisis when tackling planetary warming,” stated Dr. Natasha Chassagne, University of Tasmania


“In many ways, what we’re seeing now is a rapid and unplanned version of economic ‘degrowth’ – the transition some academics and activists have for decades said is necessary to address climate change, and leave a habitable planet for future generations. Degrowth is a proposed slowing of growth in sectors that damage the environment, such as fossil fuel industries, until the economy operates within Earth’s limits,” stated Dr. Natasha Chassagne.

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2ND ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM ON PLANNING FOR RESILIENCE: “Living Water Smart lays out out the vision of where British Columbia needs to go in order to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate,” stated Kim Stephens when he represented the Water Sustainability Action Plan as a panel member on Uncertain Water Supplies (March 2010)


“When I reflect back on what I have learned in my career, I believe that clear thinking is needed more now than ever. Time and time again, I have seen how we create layers of complexity around assumptions. One of my rules of thumb is that, if you take any kind of initiative, drill down and peel back the layers of the onion until you get down to the simple assumption. So often, it tends to be flawed. Ask a different question and you will get a different answer,” stated Kim Stephens.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The team of Lynn Kriwoken, Ted van der Gulik and Kim Stephens provided insight into some of the issues around water management in British Columbia,” stated Peter Williams when he described the interactive format for the Smarter Water Management panel session at the Greenlink Conference held in Vancouver (October 2010)


GreenLink 2010 attracted an international audience and “linked” the best of the best in Sustainable Communities, Finance, Technology and Government. “It was a real pleasure to take part in the Smarter Water Management panel and in particular to hear about the far-sighted and imaginative approach that the BC Government is taking to identifying, managing and educating people about the province’s water management issues. I am sure that this approach will provide lessons for other areas that seek to address their water management needs,” stated moderator Peter Williams.

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LIVING WATER SMART PANEL AT GREENLINK VANCOUVER CONFERENCE: “Being water smart is about making smarter individual choices and encouraging all British Columbians to make the right choices so that we reduce our water use and leave more for the environment,” stated Lynn Kriwoken, Ministry of Environment (October 2010)


Living Water Smart comprises 45 commitments, which are grouped into five themes for building greener communities and adapting to a changing climate. “What do you imagine for water, both where you live and in your life? It is a tall order for water management in the 21st century, and how we get there? Living Water Smart outlines three key themes for realizing the vision. If we can show how to get the water part right, then other parts are more likely to follow,” stated Lynn Kriwoken.

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LIVING WATER SMART PANEL AT GREENLINK VANCOUVER CONFERENCE: “The question that we ask is what would you like this place to look like in 50 years? And what steps will you take to get there? Those steps start today,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Ministry of Agriculture, when he referenced Beyond the Guidebook 2010 and its theme about implementing a new culture for watershed protection (October 2010)


“The challenges we face and choices that we make today are going to impact us for a long time. In 2002, ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ laid out a plan for doing a better job of developing land. Almost a decade later, Beyond the Guidebook 2010 tells the stories of what people have done, what they are going to do, and how they are going about it. The approach is bottom-up. We need the people on the ground to be willing to do the work, and make the change,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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LIVING WATER SMART PANEL AT GREENLINK VANCOUVER CONFERENCE: “On Monday nights at Council meetings, what Councillors see are the individual applications for land development. Focusing them on the big picture requires a paradigm-shift in the way we talk to them,” stated Kim Stephens (October 2010)


“We tried something different in the South Okanagan. We had to find the champions rather than writing another guidebook. Conversations helped us identify the issues.  That was the beginning of what we call ‘convening for action’ in British Columbia. Through this process we realized that people don’t want another guidebook. They want to hear the stories of those who are doing it; and they want those who are doing it to come and share those stories. So, we said, it is going to take us five years to find the stories.  And that is what Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is all about,” stated Kim Stephens.

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REPORT CARD ON THE HEALTH OF AUSTRALIA’S ENVIRONMENT: “Last year was neither an outlier nor the ‘new normal’ – it will get worse,” says Albert Van Dijk, Professor of Water and Landscape Dynamics, Australian National University


“From the long list of environmental indicators we report on, we use seven to calculate an Environmental Condition Score (ECS) for each region, as well as nationally. These seven indicators – high temperatures, river flows, wetlands, soil health, vegetation condition, growth conditions and tree cover – are chosen because they allow a comparison against previous years. In Australia’s dry environment, they tend to move up and down together, which gives the score more robustness,” stated Albert Van Dijk.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “Policy changes required to mitigate climate change appear far less disruptive — economically, socially and culturally — than the measures being taken right now to tackle COVID-19,” say Eric Galbraith and Ross Otto of McGill University


“The alarms for both COVID-19 and climate change were sounded by experts, well in advance of visible crises,” stated Eric Galbraith. “As scientists who have studied climate change and the psychology of decision-making, we find ourselves asking: Why do the government responses to COVID-19 and climate change — which both require making difficult decisions to avert future disasters — differ so dramatically? We suggest four important reasons.”

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