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.
TOO SMALL TO FAIL – HOW COMMUNITIES CAN PREPARE FOR BIGGER STORMS: “Smaller scale, agile efforts to limit flood risk can collectively contribute to ensuring the resiliency of communities,” stated Dr. Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, upon release of new report showcasing green infrastructure projects
“In recent years we have seen a dramatic rise in insurable losses related to extreme weather events in Canada. The increase in costs is due in part to flooding, and this new report identifies some practical mitigation measures municipalities and NGOs can take to limit the impacts of bigger storms that we expect to see in coming years,” stated Dr. Blair Feltmate. “The lesson of this report rests with its focus on the utility of small-scale, local flood mitigation projects.”
“Factors like land-use and land-cover changes, and vegetation changes have altered the underlying surface conditions and hydrological feedbacks that have, in turn, increased storm runoff,” report Columbia University researchers
“Our work helps explain the underlying physical mechanisms related to the intensification of precipitation and runoff extremes,” Pierre Gentine said. “This will help improve flood forecasting and early-warning alerts. Our findings can help provide scientific guidance for infrastructure and ecosystem resilience planning and could help formulate strategies for tackling climate change.” Gentine’s team plans next to try to partition the impacts of thermodynamic and atmosphere dynamics on precipitation to gain a deeper understanding about precipitation intensification.
BLUE CITY: “We set out to write a report that will help practitioners and decision makers build a business case for more sustainable, integrated water management,” stated Louise Brennan, report co-author (January 2014)
“This fourth report from the Blue Economy Initiative and its partners looks to the future. The previous three reports have dealt with critical analysis, insights and recommendations on the value of water as a financial asset and a catalyst for innovation in Canada. In this piece, 17 water-related professionals in Canada were asked what their vision of a Water Sustainable City of the near future would look like. This report showcases the inspiring and practical foresight of the interviewees,” stated Louise Brennan.
“We may have crossed an invisible threshold into a new climate regime.” – Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair in Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health
“This past summer, if you wanted to know what climate change will mean to your future, all you had to do was be outside to see what is to come. The entire Northern Hemisphere was impacted by extreme weather – drought, forest fires or flooding,” stated Bob Sandford. “With some 560 forest fires burning in B.C. this past summer, thousands on evacuation notices and smoke that could impact most of western Canada and the northern US well into autumn, many are now thinking about where we are headed and just how fast we may get there.”
DOWNLOAD: “The Story of the 2008 Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series” – demonstration applications in two regions launched a capacity-building program to align provincial, regional and local efforts to achieve the vision for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan
“Walkabouts facilitate conversations and on-the-ground learning. This approach proved especially successful when we hosted the Showcasing Innovation series,” stated Kevin Lagan, City of Courtenay. “Council recognized that a common understanding of challenges and solutions would result in consistent expectations at municipal front counters across Vancouver Island. Council also recognized that hosting the series would have a better payback than selectively sending a few staff to conferences. In the current financial climate, the operative phrase is stay local.”
“While legislative reform is a foundation piece, collaboration takes place outside the legislative framework,” Lynn Kriwoken stated in 2008. An Executive Director in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, she personifies continuity, commitment and leadership in bringing the Living Water Smart vision to fruition. “This is why we constantly emphasize that Living Water Smart is about motivating and inspiring everyone to embrace shared responsibility. Influencing behaviour and attitudes is at the heart of moving from awareness to action,” added Kriwoken.
WATER TREATMENT ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “How can small communities have such a huge financial burden dropped on them without any financial assistance from the Provincial Government?” asks Lynne Smith, Chairperson, Saltair Water Advisory Committee
“Vancouver Island Health Authority has mandated that a filtration system, at a cost of $5M, be placed on our water supply. As a group we continue to pursue an equitable solution for all mandated filtration systems, be they small or large. Some systems have received grants but others are left without any financial assistance. Being a very small community of approximately 850 parcels, another $5M is beyond us with our current commitment of $4.5M/15 year towards our aging distribution infrastructure,” stated Lynne Smith.
WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Keep working to make your world better. You are engaged with pride, and with joy, in the hard work of hope. And what you are doing offers hope to all,” stated Bob Sandford in his closing synthesis at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)
“Streamkeepers and municipalities both have a great deal of unexercised power and capacity to collaborate in the interests of the common good. You have only started; and in so doing, you can move outside the limitations of formal, established governance structures,” stated Bob Sandford. “It is the way to move out from under that, to build new governance pathways. And pathways to real power that can allow you to make change possible in a much shorter period of time. You have proven that, if you change your attitudes, changes in practice follow almost immediately. So, I ask and urge you to carry on.”