“Mother Nature has an amazing sense of timing. On the 20th anniversary of the evacuation of 27,000 people from Kelowna due to forest fires, history repeated itself in August in the Kelowna region, in particular West Kelowna. We have had two decades to prepare for the obvious and the inevitable. 2003 was the first of a series of teachable years, with the full onslaught of a changing climate hitting hard as of 2015. Climate change is accelerating. There is no time to re-invent the wheel, fiddle, or go down cul-de-sacs. Understand how the past informs the future and build on that experience,” stated Kim Stephens.
bc action plan for water sustainability
LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We have raised expectations that communities can do a better job of managing land and water. But what happens if knowledge, experience and the lessons we are learning are not passed on or are lost?” – a question posed in 2007 by Jay Bradley, Chair of the Vancouver Island Coordinating Team
This edition brings to a close the current season (January through June 2023) of the Waterbucket eNews weekly newsletter series. We celebrate the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. During the past 5-month period, the Partnership for Water Sustainability has published 20 feature stories. This finale edition constitutes our “season in review”. To refresh reader memories about the topics and how much ground we have covered, we have brought forward the headline plus defining quotable quote from each of the 20 storylines.
Watershed Moments Team Award honours legacy of Rob Lawrance, former Environmental Planner with the City of Nanaimo
Rob Lawrance grew up in the Cowichan Valley where he began his stewardship journey. In his time with the City of Nanaimo, he grew the responsibilities of Environmental Planner to include community collaboration. He played a key role in almost every major waterway stewardship initiative in Nanaimo and connected community stewardship passion with municipal capacity. In 2021, Rob retired from the City and moved to Blaine, Washington. Tragically, he passed away in May 2022 while participating in the cyclocross leg of the Bellingham Ski to Sea relay race.
ADAPTING TO FLOODS AND DROUGHTS IN THE COWICHAN REGION: “Being part of the inter-regional collaborative network helps us reinforce our long-term strategies. These are necessary to respond to climate threats which are projected to be long-term in duration and changing over the long-term,” stated Keith Lawrence of the Cowichan Valley Regional District
“Early in my career, working with agencies across Western Canada gave me an appreciation for the urgent need for collaboration between organizations. When I joined CVRD in mid-2013, I had a strong sense that this would be a place where I could work in a more collaborative setting.. There was a willingness to foster a collaborative framework between partnering organizations so that together we can respond to climate threats to our water resources. As local government, one of the roles that we can play is to support that stewardship culture,” stated Keith Lawrence.
BLUE ECOLOGY: A Pathway to Water Reconciliation and Resilience at the Local Scale in British Columbia
“When I think about the experience in the Cowichan, in many ways the region is still in the theoretical stage in terms of weaving Indigenous knowledge and Western science,” stated Brian Carruthers. “We created the framework for that to happen, but I cannot say that it truly has happened. The foundation for interweaving in the Cowichan region is really with the Cowichan Tribes. Everything the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) has done has been shoulder to shoulder with them. The framework is in place and the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection service exists. But I do wish the Cowichan region was further along. However, a reality is that things do take time.”
“My over-arching message to those elected in October 2022 is succinct: Get the water part right in a changing climate, and you will be amazed how other parts of the community resiliency puzzle then fall into place. A supporting message is this: Our land ethic has consequences for water. This means elected representatives need to understand why development practices disconnect the water balance pathways that power stream-ecology. They also need to understand why a water-first approach to green infrastructure can reconnect the two,” stated Kim Stephens.
“As each new generation inherits the world, vital knowledge is forgotten. Generational amnesia has profound effects on the way that we see the world. The challenge is to overcome generational amnesia so that communities learn from past experience, apply this knowledge, and achieve better policy and financial outcomes,” stated Kim Stephens. “The end of the calendar year is a time for reflection. People learn from stories. For this reason, our editorial emphasis is on sharing the ‘stories behind the stories’ of those who lead by example.”
ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING: Do you wonder how streams influence neighbourhoods and property values? To find out, download the latest report by the Partnership!
EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, addresses this question: How do communities decide how much to invest in the natural commons? The EAP methodology and metrics enable a local government to determine the WORTH of the natural commons, with ‘worth’ being the foundation for an annual budget for maintenance and maintenance of ecological assets. Application of the EAP methodology can help to inform an investment strategy for protection and/or restoration of ecological-hydrological function,” stated Tim Pringle.