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Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

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THE LITTLE CREEK THAT COULD: “The book speaks to the fact that nature can heal itself if only given a chance. While this book focuses on healing a particular stream, the broader message is about healing the environment. My hope is that it will resonate with many regardless of where they live, in our province or in our country,” stated Mark Angelo, author and founder of BC Rivers Day and World Rivers Day


“I am such a believer in engaging the broader community as best we can. Going back 50 years ago to the 1970s when I was first starting as a streamkeeper, it was a lonely undertaking. Streamkeepers were few in number. One of the great steps forward that I have seen over the decades is that now there are many many streamkeepers and there streamkeeper groups attached to virtually every stream in the Lower Mainland. These volunteers put in thousands of hours, keep an eye on local waterways, profile issues when they arise, and approach local governments to help them deal with and correct those issues,” stated Mark Angelo.

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PROFILE IN COURAGE: “There is a special type of courage that Council needs to have to say, ‘give us the naked truth’. There is not a lot of political up-side to shining a light on infrastructure challenges. Oak Bay Council did that, no holds barred,” stated Christopher Paine, Director of Financial Services, when he explained the vision of Council in setting the direction for Oak Bay’s Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan


“Two things about Oak Bay are quite unique. First, I know of no other situation where an engineering department and a finance department are so much in lockstep on a unified vision for asset management. That was really spurred by Council’s culture. That is the second thing. They knew there was an issue with an aging infrastructure because the visible signs were there. They trusted staff and they started investing heavily in infrastructure funding. Anybody who is going to hear or read about the Oak Bay story, the thing that they really must understand is the role of Council,” stated Christopher Paine.

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CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: Blue Ecology is the pathway to reach Water Reconciliation


“Our children’s children will be faced with daunting, complex, and urgent environmental problems. The impending crisis requires us to begin to lay a foundation for our children’s children to have a starting point, and some options to grasp in the urgent moment. We owe them hope,” stated Michael Blackstock. “Now is the time to act on the belief that if we interweave our strengths as traditional knowledge keepers, scientists, poets, artists, and architects in a collaborative manner, we can make a difference.”

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Creating a Culture for Urban Watershed Restoration in British Columbia


Creating a culture for urban watershed restoration relies on knowing the oral history of an area. As the First Nations who have settled these lands for 1000s of years tell us, passing on the oral history is key to sharing a collective memory. Each generation must be receptive so that experience is passed on. “We are inching our way to bring together Western science and our own (Indigenous) science. There are different ways of how the two interact when we bring them together. The observation record for us is in the oral history,” stated Gitxsan hereditary Chief Hanamuxw (aka Don Ryan).

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Growing the Living Water Smart Network in British Columbia through Collaborative Leadership


“From the outset, we had vowed never to fall into the trap of concentrating our energies on building an organization and thus losing sight of ‘the mission’. This view of the world reflected our history as a roundtable. Are there other precedents for our approach, we wondered? Or are we unique? we decided it was time to research the social science literature to definitively answer whether anyone else tried to do what we have been doing for the past two decades under the ‘collaboration umbrella’ that is the Water Sustainability Action Plan ,” stated Kim Stephens.

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CONTEXT FOR AGRICULTURE WATER DEMAND MODEL: Water Allocation, Irrigation, and Food Security in British Columbia


“Irrigation for agriculture is a dominant use of water in British Columbia, the need is seasonal, and use peaks when water supply is at its lowest. With longer and drier summers being the new reality for water management, the Agriculture Water Demand Model is a game-changer for achieving food security in British Columbia. We have downscaled climate data to a 500-metre grid across the province. This means we can reliably estimate the total water need for agricultural irrigation. This further means that the Province can align water allocation and water use. This is a powerful outcome,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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Know Your History and Context to Offset Generational Amnesia


To know where you are going, you need to know where you have come from. Otherwise, as Daniel Pauly observed in 1995 when he published a short but influential paper about the “Shifting Baselines Syndrome”, baselines shift when successive generations of practitioners do not have an image in their minds of the recent past. Know your history. Know your context. These are keys to overcoming generational and organizational amnesia.

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ADAPTING ASSET MANAGEMENT TO CLIMATE REALITIES: “Climate change impacts are risks which can be addressed by aligning asset lifecycles to performance or change thresholds which consider how levels-of-service are likely to deteriorate in response to climate changes impacts,” stated Robert Hicks, Senior Policy and Process Engineer, City of Vancouver


“If we look at the variability in climate change impact scenarios that may occur within many asset lifecycles, we may get distracted by the uncertainty and statistical variance of the magnitude among the anticipated changes for key parameters that inform levels-of-service. Another way to consider this variance and uncertainty is to not look at the variation of key parameters for a given future year, but rather consider the time-range that a key performance threshold might be reached,” stated Robert Hicks.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS GAME-CHANGING: Financial Case for Bowker Creek Daylighting in British Columbia’s Capital Region


“Decision-making is the key. In the City of Victoria, we are creating new ways of making decisions about what we do with our assets, whether they be natural or hard. Embracing EAP would introduce a structured asset planning approach. It provides metrics for integrating natural assets into the municipal infrastructure inventory and place them on an equal footing with constructed/engineered assets. This provides a starting point for a balanced conversation about the services,” stated Trina Buhler.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS GAME-CHANGING: “With all the talk about integrating natural assets into asset management, the players forget that nature is a system. They focus too much on specific aspects of the system, rather than its interrelated functions,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair


“The EAP methodology focuses on the historical and current land use practices that have changed landscapes, modified hydrology, and have led to present-day community perceptions of the worth of the stream or creekshed and the ecological services it provides. A whole-system understanding is the starting point for developing meaningful metrics. Managing the built and natural environments as interconnected systems is a guiding principle,” stated Tim Pringle.

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