Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

The Partnership publishes weekly e-Newsletters. These feature champions who are leading changes in practice. Stories are replicated on our Blog for ease of access.

Latest Posts

BUILD THE NETWORK TO ACHIEVE MISSION IMPACT: “Growing the network is all about a culture change that requires a different mindset and a commitment to something bigger,” stated Dr. Jane Wei-Skillern of the University of California at Berkeley

“Once a network is up and running and proves itself to be effective, it becomes the primary vehicle for change, rather than the individual organizations themselves. The leaders who work in this way are really competent in what they do. They have great people skills, they are good organizational managers, and they are good at seeing the big picture and identifying where they need to engage others and build the network to solve the problem. I have been studying people who have done this well and documented the patterns and themes from their work,” stated Jane Wei-Skillern.

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INSTILL A CULTURE THAT SUPPORTS CHAMPIONS: “It takes willpower to develop a culture,” states Ramin Seifi, former General Manager of engineering and planning with Langley Township in the Metro Vancouver region

Resource protection – for groundwater supply and fisheries habitat – is the original driver for implementing ‘green infrastructure’ in Langley. For the past two decades, Township staff have learned and adapted. “How you adapt to change is that you develop a culture where you welcome, and you try and anticipate, what a future state might be like. And then be nimble enough to adapt and adjust yourself to it. Instilling this culture takes years, sometimes generations. And that really is, I hope, the story of Langley,” stated Ramin Seifi.

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KEEP IT SIMPLE, PRACTICAL AND IMPLEMENTABLE: “If the process is strategic and well thought out, as well as practical and implementable from the start, then it is just a matter of sticking to it until you deliver it across the line,” stated Melony Burton, Manager of Infrastructure Planning with the City of Port Coquitlam in the Metro Vancouver region

“In my work, I continue to apply the ten principles that I developed at Coquitlam when we delivered nine Integrated Watershed Management Plans in just 10 years. Three of the 10 are universally applicable to any area of infrastructure planning: take action, start small, stay practical. Staying true to these has helped me deliver so much. Develop a really good strategy coming out of the gate and stay super focused. Do not go down rabbit holes. You can always circle back later,” stated Melony Burton

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CARING FOR THE LAND MEANS GOING BEYOND JUST DOING ENOUGH: “Blue Ecology and EAP describe a whole-system approach to caring for our Natural Commons and ecological assets,” states Tim Pringle, a founding director and Past-President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

“EAP is an expression of Blue Ecology. Because nature is a system, you cannot slice and dice it. EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, recognizes this and is a financial tool to give streams the support they need to survive in the local government setting. Streams need a place to be. If we cannot get our heads around that, we are not going to keep our streams. EAP provides a value picture of a stream system as a land use. Think of Blue Ecology as a compass in terms of how it relates to a water-first approach. The compass points the way forward. We are on a journey,” stated Tim Pringle.

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THERE IS NO TIME TO RE-INVENT THE WHEEL: “We are a movement built around water sustainability,” stated Ray Fung, a founding director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, in his closing reflections on what he heard at the Summit at the Bastion in Nanaimo

Ray Fung captured the mood of the summit with this summation: “The Partnership is seen as a resource that is stable, that is there, and that people can draw upon. I liked the comment that THIS IS A MOVEMENT. I find that is really inspiring to not see ourselves just as a network. We leave the summit inspired to figure out how the FORM of the Partnership will follow the FUNCTION. We can learn things from expanding our perspective. Part of that holistic approach includes the SPIRITUAL as well as the physical connection to the land.”

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WHAT AFFORDABLE AND CLIMATE-READY HOUSING WOULD LOOK LIKE: “Superficial understanding does not yield solutions for complex problems. Those require deep knowledge,” observes Robert Hicks, a career engineer-planner in local government in the Metro Vancouver region

“In today’s world, we must increasingly consider solutions in a whole-system context. That means you need broader perspectives. But at the same time, you need the depth behind it. How can you come up with a good integrated solution if you are just skimming the surface on high-level information? Local governments are dealing with complex problems needing complex solutions. To get to that complexity, you have to know the background, you have to know the history, you must have DEEP KNOWLEDGE,” stated Robert Hicks.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Water brings people together. It is a natural starting point for any conversation about common interests, and by extension, our shared future. Stories unite us,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability

“In these challenging and unsettling times, it is imperative that we offer hope. Every edition of Waterbucket eNews is built around a conversational interview. We celebrate the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision We start with a compelling quotable quote and delve into the story behind the story because that is what is interesting. And relevant. We all learn through stories. During the past 3-month period, the Partnership has published 11 feature stories. This edition constitutes our season in review. We resume publication in mid-January. There are so many stories still to share,” stated Kim Stephens.

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A VISION WITH A TASK IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD: “Early in her career, Jody Watson realized the importance and value of local government-community relationships built upon mutual trust, respect and common purpose,” stated Eric Bonham

“In her role as Supervisor of Environmental Initiatives, Jody Watson has emphasized collaboration and teamwork at every opportunity. The initiatives are timely, and as a result, creative community partnerships are being forged to address changing circumstances. Jody is an inspiration, an able communicator and mentor who ‘walks her talk’, a champion for innovation, noting the importance of ecological principles within the development process. Jody is both a visionary and a pragmatist, for the vision and task are equally important,” stated Eric Bonham.

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ENHANCING BIODIVERSITY THROUGH GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS IN SURREY: “Watercourses really do drive a lot of what we do in Surrey. It always goes back to the natural resource that we inherited,” stated Rémi Dubé

“Despite the population density that we have had to accommodate, and the ongoing growth due to the demand for housing, we have to set land aside for community liveability. The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (2019) is pretty much a reflection of that need. Surrey’s Development Cost Charges Bylaw for the Strategy did not happen overnight. The framework for the strategy came out of the Fergus Creek watershed plan and the vision for green solutions many years before in 2006,” stated Rémi Dubé.

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SHIFTING THE ECOLOGICAL BASELINE REQUIRES BOLDNESS: “You work with the politics of the day, and you have to be savvy. You must read your politicians. What are their pressures? Try to make what you need to do fit their pressures,” advises Carrie Baron, former Drainage Manager with the City of Surrey

Three words define Carrie Baron’s engineering career: leadership, innovation and science. Carrie Baron has consistently been on the leading edge in advancing green infrastructure and protecting stream health. “The lucky part was that the people who set the groundwork at the lower levels all advanced to senior levels where their duties were bigger than drainage. But they all had that base knowledge. And so, you did not have to convince them the same way as you would with someone who did not have a base knowledge. It became more of a fluid discussion,” stated Carrie Baron.

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