LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Having stable funding has been a huge part of the success of the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program. It has enabled education of both the community and those who hold political office. This laid the foundation for strong Board support,” stated Director Ben Geselbracht, Regional District of Nanaimo (March 2022)
“We need everybody at the table. And regional districts are very well positioned to be the facilitator at the watershed scale. While it is good to see the Province refocusing its efforts on watersheds and watershed health, the Province must also bring adequate resourcing. The DWWP program coordinates collaborative regional programs advancing water awareness and stewardship; water information and science; and water-centric planning and policy support,” stated Ben Geselbracht.
CHALLENGES & GAPS IN THE WSA: “What might a Water Sustainability Act 2.0 look like?” – a joint submission by Donna Forsyth and Mike Wei to the government of British Columbia lays out five issues of concern (March 2022)
“So far, the current engagement for the Watershed Security Strategy has prioritised the questions that relate to: ‘what can First Nations and local organisations do to help with the management of BC’s water’. Our submission focused on government’s actions that we believe need to be discussed and addressed in conjunction with the Watershed Security Strategy in order to unlock the full potential for sustainable water management in BC. Since climate change is all about water – too much or too little – these changes should fit into climate related initiatives as well,” stated Donna Forsyth.
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The Discussion Paper on a Watershed Security Strategy and Fund opens the door for the new Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship to take stock of what has been accomplished through implementation of Living Water Smart Actions and ask, what have we collectively learned in recent years and decades, and what comes next?” – Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability (March 2022)
“Without effective provincial participation at local government tables, nobody has the authority to deliver a consistent, unified message about over-arching provincial goals and expectations. Consequently, the relevant analogy is a ‘wild west’ scenario. Without an effective provincial presence, there are consequences – for example, failure to close the gap between ;’state-of-the-practice’ and ‘state-of-the-art’ as it relates to water sustainability in an era when the water cycle is changing,” stated Kim Stephens.
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Work. See the barrier. Knock it down. As long as people continue doing that…..the 2003 Watershed Management Plan, the 2010 Blueprint, the 2020 Daylighting Feasibility Study, and so on will be kept alive that way,” stated Adriane Pollard, Manager of Environmental Services with the District of Saanich on Vancouver Island (March 2022)
“The intergenerational baton is being accepted. I believe the Daylighting Feasibility Study is the Bowker Blueprint for this next generation of municipal employees and community people. It is a ground-breaking document. It is meaningful. It causes us to focus and act. It gives us the knowledge to go forward. In terms of knocking down barriers, you really just have to look at what is the barrier and ask, what is holding us back and how do we address it? Be very focused and break the mold if you need to. Because that is what we did with the Blueprint, and that is what we have now done with the Daylighting Feasibility Study,” stated Adriane Pollard.
GROUNDWATER LICENSING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA IS A CRISIS IN THE MAKING: “But no amount of localized planning for healthy, more resilient watersheds will be credible if we don’t have a firm handle on who is using our shared water resources and how much they are using. And that assessment absolutely has to include licensed groundwater users who are in compliance,” stated Donna Forsyth, former legislative adviser in B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in an article for The Tyee (February 2022)
“What will the government do, come March 1, 2022? Enforce a law that it passed with broad support from both the governing party and opposition, and effectively shut businesses down by turning off their taps? Or will it turn a blind eye and allow thousands of business owners to use their water illegally, while their counterparts who did the right thing and applied for their licences follow the law? Either outcome guarantees trouble ahead and must be avoided. But before saying what needs to be done, we need to understand why we are in this mess,” stated Donna Forsyth.
SEA LEVEL ALONG THE UNITED STATES COASTLINE: “This new data on sea rise is the latest reconfirmation that our climate crisis is blinking ‘code red,’” said Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor to the US President
The United States is expected to experience as much sea level rise by the year 2050 as it witnessed in the previous hundred years. The Sea Level Rise Technical Report provides the most up-to-date sea level rise projections for all U.S. states and territories by decade for the next 100 years and beyond, based on a combination of tide gauge and satellite observations and all the model ensembles from the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “As one who has seen and done many things, I have learned that we must all be leaders who selflessly have a vision, and we must then act to make the vision a reality, because air, water and continents are interconnected and if you can dream it — you can do it,” stated Lois Jackson, former Board Chair, Metro Vancouver Regional District (February 2022)
“At first I was not sure I understood what was meant when they talked about ‘green infrastructure’ and ‘celebrating successes’. And then the light went on. I remember saying ‘now I get it!’ – the point being that when you have examples of what can be done, and projects are being built, you can then wrap your mind around the green infrastructure vision and say to yourself: ‘what’s the big deal, this is really common sense…. if we can do this, then we can do more.’ And before you know it, the ball is rolling, and the landscape is changing for the better,” stated Lois Jackson.
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “In the process of analyzing the 122 plans, we uncovered this grain of systems thinking within green infrastructure planning. It is like a crystal within a larger chaotic mix of planning ideas, an idea allowing us to integrate many different kinds of infrastructure systems,” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, lead author of a nationwide analysis of GI plans from 20 American cities (February 2022)
Dr. Grabowski’s “grain of systems thinking” epiphany is the point of departure that allows the Partnership for Water Sustainability to connect the dots to a green infrastructure milestone in 2005 when BC’s Green Infrastructure Partnership developed the “Design With Nature framework” for a whole-system approach that integrates across infrastructure systems. A conversation with Dr. Graboswki revealed that the state-of-the-art in the United States is now close to where British Columbia was in 2005. In the meantime, BC has continued to progress and evolve the systems approach.
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “It is clear in my mind that traditional knowledge and western science are in alignment. They are just different ways of communicating. In fact, I believe there is an analogy between Indigenous oral history, and a statistical approach called Bayesian analysis. This is a way of processing anecdotal information,” stated Neil Goeller, BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (February 2022)
“In North America, from a scientific point of view, water records are quite short. We are lucky when we have 60 years of reliable records, possibly extending out to 100-plus years. Consider that our oldest hydrometric gauge in BC is only in the order of 110 to 120 years. The peak period for collection of streamflow and climate data was the era from the 1960s through 1980s. However, a majority of gauges in BC are discontinuous. When I reflect on this short-term context for hydrometric data collection in BC, there is no doubt in my mind that Indigenous knowledge would expand our horizon and help us make sense of the numbers in a larger context,” stated Neil Goeller.
ORAL HISTORY EXTENDS THE PERIOD OF RECORD AND UNDERSTANDING: “Michael Blackstock observed that the individuals most receptive to Blue Ecology were the ‘hydrology elders’ when he presented at the International Association of Hydrological Sciences Conference. I am not surprised. hydrology elders understand the limitations and assumptions inherent in how scientific knowledge is applied. They are not dazzled by a slick software interface,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability (February 2022)
“If Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) was alive today, I have no doubt that he would say, oral history extends the period of period and our understanding of what the data mean. One of his most memorable quotable quotes is that, probability is orderly opinion (and) inference from data is nothing other than the revision of such opinion in the light of relevant new information. Four decades ago, UBC Professor Emeritus Denis Russell developed a methodology to show how Bayesian statistics offers a framework for combining different kinds of information and making best use of what is available,” stated Kim Stephens.