Waterbucket eNews: Partnership for Water Sustainability launches a new season of “Celebrating the Champions” (September 2018 – June 2019)

Note to Readers:

During the mid-September through mid-June period, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia publishes a weekly e-Newsletter. The series showcases and celebrates successes and long-term good work in the local government setting in British Columbia and beyond. This setting includes the stewardship sector. 

Everyone learns from stories, and the most compelling ones are based on the experience of those who are leading by example in their communities. Hence, we shine our spotlight on champions in those communities which are breaking new ground and establishing replicable precedents. Storylines touch lightly on technical matters, yet are grounded in a technical foundation. Stories are designed to connect dots. 

The objective in sharing these stories is to engage, inform and educate multiple audiences whether elected, administrative, technical or stewardship. Stories in the series are built around quotable quotes. By adding the human touch, we find that the use of quotes make the stories both compelling and reader-friendly. 

Waterbucket eNews has some 2000 subscribers. The anecdotal evidence suggests that there is also a multiplier effect through forwarding to others. Hence, the Partnership strives to find an editorial balance. Clearly, our first priority is to feature the work of the Partnership and our members. Yet it is also a priority to publish stories about others whose good work merits recognition. We welcome and appreciate hearing from you, the readership.

In the coming months, you will hear and learn about the “twin pillars” of the whole-system, water balance approach to Sustainable Watershed Systems in British Columbia

A Message from the Editor (Kim Stephens)

Last October 30, my right arm broke under mysterious circumstances – it snapped as I carried a package of toilet paper. My life changed forever. And so began my battle with cancer which continues to this day. For the longest time, the medical staff at the local hospital were baffled. In early January, they elevated my case to the specialist team at the BC Cancer Agency. At that point, the power of Canada’s medical system really kicked in.

My Year-Long Battle with Cancer: 

Within a week of my first consultation with one of the world’s leading sarcoma surgeons, the pathology results established that I had the “rarest of the rare” cancer. In fact, there have only been 15 previously documented cases in the world of this form of cancer. A mere 18 days after the first consultation at the BC Cancer Agency, I underwent emergency surgery. It was a race against time.

A team of three surgeons started on Friday evening and worked for 6 ½ hours into the early morning hours of Saturday to perform a life-saving operation to remove intact a 22-cm long tumour that had dissolved the bone in my upper arm. Then they reconstructed my arm with a donor humerus and an artificial elbow. Dr. Paul Clarkson made it clear that, in saving my arm, the objective was actually to save the use of my hand so that I would still have the ability to type. The arm itself is a dead weight because the surgeons removed my bicep and deltoid muscles.

Importance of Staying Motivated: 

Throughout my battle with cancer, my work with the Partnership has provided me with the motivation to adapt to my changed circumstances and stay focussed on delivering the Sustainable Watershed Systems program. Less than 2 ½ months after the February 2nd surgery, I commenced my comeback by delivering the keynote address on April 12 at the 2018 Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium. Slowly I have been ramping up.

Then, in June, a CT scan determined that rogue cells had escaped during surgery via a compromised blood vessel. Not to worry, my sarcoma oncologist was ready with a plan. I am lucky because the timing for launch of a new drug for sarcoma treatment is NOW. This is the first breakthrough in 40 years, and I am in the first group to be part of the program.

All is good as I am now halfway through chemo (4 of 8 cycles) and wonder drug combo. Next week, I am scheduled for another CT scan to assess the treatment progress. As I told Dr. Christine Simmons last week, I am feeling as strong as I have all year. Also, that the cancer is an inconvenience. I really don’t have time for it. I have a schedule to meet. So, please, read on!

Introducing Sustainable Watershed Systems and the Asset Management Continuum

Illustrated above, the twin pillars of Sustainable Watershed Systems are the Water Balance Methodology (adopted by the Province of British Columbia in 2002) and the Ecological Accounting Process(EAP), which is under development.

In 2017-2018, federal-provincial funding enabled the Partnership to move forward with three initiatives:
  • Water Balance Model Desktop – downloadable version for advanced users complements the original online decision support tool.
  • Water Balance Express for Landowners – eight local government applications are now operational on Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and Cape Breton.
  • EAP – two demonstration applications completed on Vancouver Island have tested the “valuation of worth” methodology to generate ‘real numbers’ using the BC Assessment database.

The Partnership is currently collaborating with Union of BC Municipalities and the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing to integrate ‘natural assets’ into engineered asset management. ‘Getting it right’ starts with recognition that hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services.

Looking ahead, in the coming months we will publish a series of e-Newsletters that will elaborate on the “twin pillars” and the 3-stage implementation program for the Ecological Accounting Process.