Category:

water sustainability

A Beacon of Inspiration: Bowker Creek 100-Year Action Plan


“You never quite know what is going to create a moment for someone that will shift their understanding forever. But we must do our best to make sure that we are presenting the opportunities for those moments to be created. I came to see celebration of the 10th anniversary as an opportunity for the City of Victoria to recommit to the Blueprint plus bring awareness of it to the forefront of people’s understanding of the city that they live in, and the difference that their actions can have on the watershed,” stated City of Victoria Councillor Jeremy Loveday.

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Lack of Groundwater Licensing is a Crisis in the Making – What will it to take to motivate businesses, farmers, and others to apply in their own self interest?


“Since the government made a ‘once in a century’ change to the water law, government needs to ensure that they communicate ALL of the ongoing financial risks to historical businesses and the potential devaluation of their properties, if they miss the deadline. I believe that it is very important to be crystal clear about the impacts of the end of the transition period given how the law is written,” stated Donna Forsyth, retired civil servant. She led the team that developed the new water law under the Water Sustainability Act.

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Adapting to Climate Realities / Context and History Do Matter!


“In the moment, extreme events can be overwhelming. But the big picture situation is by no means hopeless. My key message is to view climate change as another variable, not a driver. Understand the system context because climate adaptation is about water, whereas climate mitigation is about carbon. To adapt to the new climate reality, the real issues are uncertainty and risk, more specifically how we deal with the first and manage the latter. The risks are real. Droughts affect all of us. BC is on fire and streams are drying up. We do not have the luxury of time to implement solutions,” stated Kim Stephens.

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LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Many readers tell us that they are inspired by the stories that we share,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (June 2021)


“Each week, from September through June, we celebrate the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan. Feature stories published weekly on Waterbucket eNews constitute a legacy resource. To make them readily accessible and sharable, many of these stories are now downloadable as report-style documents. In the Living Water Smart Series, featured authors explore specific themes, with an objective of helping others make a difference in the communities in which they live,” stated Kim Stephens.

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INTEGRATING NATURAL ASSETS INTO INFRASTRUCTURE ON BC’S SUNSHINE COAST: “During construction, we experienced a few 50mm rain events that we had to manage with fire pumps that pumped into the forest, dispersing through sprinklers. Amazingly though, we could see there was no pooling or surface movement. It was our first time seeing in real time what the forest could manage,” stated Michael Wall, Manager of Asset Management & Strategic Initiatives, qathet Regional District


“We received a proposal to manage stormwater using pipes, ditches, and a large sedimentation pond. It was going to cost roughly $850,000 and they were going to clear around a hectare of forest. Jason Gow, senior planner from the City of Powell River, and I went on site to review the proposed engineering design. We wondered why are we clearing a forest to put in infrastructure to manage run-off, when we know the forest can provide that service to some extent? We tried to look for any similar case studies for a “volume of water per area of forest” that can be safely managed, but we could not find anything,” stated Michael Wall.

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OUTDOOR WATER USE IN BALANCE WITH A CHANGING WATER CYCLE: “Local governments in three regions – Okanagan, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island – are collaborating with the Partnership for Water Sustainability to operationalize the BC Landscape Water Calculator. This new online tool helps homeowners design water efficient yards and gardens,” stated Ted van Gulik


“The power of the BC Landscape Water Calculator is that it is linked to a provincial 500 metre gridded climate dataset that was built for the Agricultural Water Demand Model. This is what establishes the allowable water budget for each and every property in British Columbia. The allowable water budget is a real number. It is based on average climate data for the period 2000 through 2010 for the active growing season. This establishes a location-specific performance target for landscape design. Users then test various combinations of plant types and irrigation systems to determine their total landscape water need,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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ENGAGE AND ALIGN ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN A NETWORK: “Embracing collaborative leadership, growing a network based on shared aspirations, and delivering results across organizational boundaries differs in every way from building an organization in any conventional sense,” stated Mike Tanner, a Founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability


“The Partnership is a legal entity, yet operationally it functions as a network rather than as an organization in any conventional sense. The work of The Partnership is guided by a network way-of-thinking that reflects our genesis as a water-centric technical committee in the 1990s. We recognize that to be successful in facilitating changes in practice over the long-term, the groundwork has to be done by our partners. This means that the work of The Partnership must be aligned with and support their organizational objectives,” stated Mike Tanner.

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CREATING SAFE CITIES FOR SALMON: “Using the Salmon-Safe Urban eco-certification as an evaluative framework for policy comparison, the study showcases the many efforts being made across the Lower Fraser region to develop cities more sustainably with wild salmon populations in mind,” reported Andrea McDonald, author of the joint research study by the Pacific Water Research Centre and the Salmon-Safe BC team (May 2021)


“Protection of salmon and their habitat from the adverse impacts of urban development is a challenging task that requires an all-of-government response. Findings from this research highlight the variable involvement and guidance provided from the higher levels of government in Canada. As one expert noted, the province must provide more clarity on direct regulatory obligations which have compliance initiatives in place to enforce them. Inadequate statutory foundations and enforcement of current regulations have only hindered the implementation of nature-based solutions to protect salmon in cities,” stated Andrea McDonald.

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DOING SCIENCE DIFFERENTLY IN LOCAL CREEKSHEDS: “Stewardship groups are such an underutilized resource right now. My Masters research looked at how governments can better collaborate with stream stewardship groups on environmental monitoring initiatives,” stated DFO’s Nikki Kroetsch, Community Engagement Coordinator with the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre in West Vancouver


“According to the federal, provincial, and local government employees and the stewardship group volunteers I interviewed for my Masters research, data collection is currently siloed and unorganized. Many people are collecting essentially the same data, but because there’s very little communication and data sharing going on between them, it means a lot of duplicated efforts, which is a huge waste of resources given that monitoring is often time consuming and expensive to conduct,” stated Nikki Kroetsch.

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DOCKSIDE GREEN, WORLD’S GREENEST NEIGHBOURHOOD: “Do we have the intelligence and will to impel change? Can convention be busted open again to develop sustainably? This book encourages sustainable change agents to make fundamental, systemic change. Please go implement. Now,” urges Kim Fowler, author of Dockside Green, the story of the world’s most sustainable development


“At Dockside Green, a ‘sandbox’ development concept was created instead of a ‘straitjacket’ conventional approach. This was achieved by setting the basic requirements for site redevelopment while still providing flexibility to promote innovation and competition in the land sale process. Traditional zoning was deemed to be a ‘straitjacket’ containing far too detailed and prescriptive land use and design. It would have destroyed competition and innovation,” stated Kim Fowler.

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