Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC connnects water, land….and people
Convening for Action in British Columbia
Commencing in 2010, BC Hydro Power Smart has published a monthly newsletter to celebrate the accomplishments of the champions in the Conservation Community of Practice – these are the individuals and groups who are leading change on the ground, and making a significant difference. The February 2012 newsletter featured the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. The following is an extract from the article written by Nina Winham.
Our Land Ethic and Water
It falls freely from the sky. It runs across the land, soaks into any open crack. It even flows right through our bodies. Water connects communities to landscape, people to each other.
But in the development of communities, we’ve come to view water as a distinct resource management issue. Which is a problem, according to Kim Stephens. In his quest to improve water management and conservation, he’s learned that connecting people is key.
“I’m a water guy, in terms of my professional training,” says Kim Stephens, a water resources engineer-planner and now the Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in B.C. “And you always see this tendency to silo the two: land and water. But it’s your land ethic that determines what happens in the condition of your water.”
CREATE NEUTRAL FORUMS:
Kim’s solution is to draw people together to collaborate – and get them out of the usual conversation frame. “We don’t talk only about water,” he says. “We challenge our audiences, ‘What do we want this place to look like in 50 years?’ Because the decisions we make now about land development will ripple through time.”
The Partnership has successfully engaged communities in water-related initiatives on Vancouver Island, in Metro Vancouver, and in the South Okanagan. The group focuses on how to move people from awareness to action to achieve water sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices.
“You have to create forums for the conversations that otherwise would not happen,” he says. “You can call a meeting and have people sit around the table, but if they’ve all got their official hats on, you don’t get very far. Creating a situation where you can have a candid conversation is important.”
TO LEARN MORE:
The Conservation Community-of-Practice newsletter story is posted elsewhere on the Waterbucket website. To access it, click on Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC Connects Water, Land and People.