IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: Building Nanaimo Region’s “Actionable Vision” for Water & Watersheds / Learn More at Parksville 2019 / April 2-3-4 (Announcement #5, February 2019)

Note to Reader:

Ten years ago, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) embarked on delivering a service never before established by a Regional District in British Columbia. The Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) function, approved by elector assent in 2008, has provided water-related education & outreach, water data collection, science & monitoring, and water policy advocacy & planning support, for the past decade with marked accomplishments and certain challenges.

In 2019, the RDN is updating their Action Plan for DWWP to incorporate learnings from the implementation thus far, and integrate elements that will be the focus of an “actionable vision” for the next decade and more. The Parksville 2019 Symposium is a ‘sharing & learning’ opportunity that will help inform the DWWP Action Plan update.

At Parksville 2019, the story of how a strong foundation of public outreach and science was built over the first decade will lead into a lively discussion on opportunities and emphasis for the next 10 years of water sustainability initiatives. It is the successful cultivation of awareness and data that will inform policy and planning in order to make better land and water decisions and tackle regional water issues in the next decade.

The RDN is positioned to tackle regional water issues and help to create a vision to chart a new course to a sustainable water future. At Parksville 2019, Julie Pisani (DWWP Coordinator) will tell the story of the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection function, and will also conduct an interactive session to engage the audience.

Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend a ‘watershed moment’ in the City of Parksville on April 2-3-4 for a field day followed by the 2-day symposium. The bridge between the two symposium days is a free public lecture by Storm Cunningham, author of The Restoration Economy. Storm’s lecture is titled “Nature Is Regenerative: We should be too”SCROLL DOWN TO THE POSTER.





“Delegates at the Parksville 2019 Symposium will contribute to the visioning of the next decade of Drinking Water and Watershed Protection in the Nanaimo region,” states Julie Pisani, Coordinator, Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program, Regional District of Nanaimo

Creating an Actionable Vision

“Delegates at the Parksville 2019 Symposium will contribute to the visioning of the next decade of Drinking Water and Watershed Protection in the Nanaimo region,” foreshadows Julie Pisani. Her featured presentation will set the tone for Day Two of the symposium. Her theme is: Creating an Actionable Vision for the next 10 Years of Drinking Water and Watershed Protection. 

Below, Julie Pisani provides a synthesis of a third party review of the first decade of the DWWP. The purpose of the review was to inventory the many successes, as well as some of the challenges the program has faced over the past decade. It considered actions laid out in the 2007 Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Action Plan and took stock of what has been completed, initiated or advanced, and what has not.

An Overview of Program Evolution

“Since the early 2000s, the RDN Board has identified drinking water and watershed protection as key factors for the long term resilience and prosperity of the region. The current RDN Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Action Plan was adopted by the RDN Board in 2008, and first implemented in 2009 with a 10-year scope,” states Julie Pisani.

“An important aspect of the DWWP program is that it is regional in nature, with a focus on the natural boundaries of watersheds and aquifers to frame program activities, rather than political boundaries. All four member municipalities and all seven Electoral Areas are partners in this region-wide function, recognizing the water does not conform to jurisdictional lines. Protecting and planning for our water requires a high level of collaboration.

“2018 marked the 10th year of program implementation. For that reason, the RDN initiated a third-party review of DWWP to examine achievements against the actions outlined in the Plan and evaluate program effectiveness in the first decade. External water strategy experts gathered data via in-depth interviews, workshops, literature review, meetings and discussions with staff and stakeholders.

“Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program implementation has been characterized by numerous accomplishments, as documented in the review, completed in September 2018. The focus has generally advanced from an initial emphasis on education and outreach, proceeding to expanded effort in water science and data collection. More recently, as the program has progressed, policy and planning and refining science processes and data management has been given more attention.”

The Implementation Review Revealed….

The table below summarizes the findings, directly quoted from the third party review.

Building on the Foundational Work

“The review revealed opportunities for the DWWP program to evolve and improve in the next operational period,” continues Julie Pisani. “Among these opportunities is engaging with First Nations in an active and meaningful way to identify the ways in which collaboration, participation and shared benefits from the DWWP program could be included in implementation strategies and activities moving forward. The review serves as a useful springboard to the Plan update in 2019.

Sustainable Partnerships

“The third party review concluded in summation that ‘the work of the program to date has been nothing less than remarkable and highly successful’. That is attributed in large part to the vital partnerships with other agencies, industry and not-for-profit sector, the sustainable funding model in place for the program and the unique and integrated nature of the program.

“Looking forward, the Action Plan update in 2019 will serve to build on the foundational work completed and initiated to-date, and chart the course for the next decade of innovative and collaborative watershed protection activities in the region. We want to hear from the community on what the priorities, concerns and interests are for regional water sustainability during the next 10 years.

“The Action Plan update process will include several opportunities and modes for community engagement including the presentation and town-hall segment at the Parksville Water Stewardship Symposium in April 2019.”

To Learn More:

For further important details and relevant context, click on 10-Year Action Plan Implementation Review to download a copy of the final report.