bc water sustainability act

    STRENGTHENING THE FOUNDATION FOR WATER LAW IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Once-in-a-decade opportunity for water sustainability in BC

    “In a nutshell, ‘vesting’ is the legal concept that has historically been used to establish the government’s authority to write the laws that govern water use in BC. This means that any use of water that is unvested remains outside of those provincial laws. Vesting all water does not mean the use of every drop will or needs to be regulated. That concern is a red herring. The real issue centres on what government cannot do when the water use involves unvested water,” stated Mike Wei.

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    What might a Water Sustainability Act 2.0 look like?

    “During development of the Water Sustainability Act, the stars appeared to be aligning and everything was pointing to water becoming a real priority for the government. That was our frame of reference in 2014. We believed that the initial version of the WSA would not be government’s only kick at the can. Given that water is now being recognized as such a big priority, we could say to ourselves: ‘we will be back for WSA 2.0 to deal with the things that we had to leave behind’,” stated Donna Forsyth.

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    DELTA’S RAIN GARDEN PROGRAM: Second Decade of Citizen Science in Action

    “Looking back, I see now that the rain garden program evolved gradually, in the manner of any good garden — from early conversations in 1999, through the first rain garden in 2006, to the 29 school and community rain gardens in 2019. And yet, despite successes, this enterprise has not been a completely comfortable fit for City officials and staff, especially engineers,” Deborah Jones stated in a moment of reflection. The passage of time provides perspective, and opens eyes to the distance travelled as compared to the distance still to go to reach the destination.

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    CREATING OUR FUTURE: “Beyond Champions – Building a Culture of Water Stewardship” – Paul Chapman, Chair, Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Symposia Series

    “The Symposia programs are built around success stories – inspirational in nature, local in scale, and precedent-setting in scope and outcome. In short, these precedents can be replicated and/or adapted in other communities. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we look beyond short-term responses and figure out how we will learn from these success stories; and build a sustaining culture of stewardship so that communities do adapt to the new normal caused by COVID 19,” stated Paul Chapman.

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    IN MEMORIAM: Erik Karlsen (1945-2020) – as a professional planner, he was someone quite special

    Over the course of his career in government, Erik Karlsen bridged the worlds of municipal affairs and environmental stewardship. For a generation of elected representatives, his was a familiar face in the local government setting. He was indeed one of a kind, and his ability to envision the big picture, yet identify practical steps going forward, was what made him stand out from the crowd and earned him much respect from his colleagues.

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    “If an existing groundwater user applies after March 1, 2022, they will be viewed as a completely new user and that seniority will be gone! In many watersheds, the chance of an existing user getting a licence applying after March 1, 2022 may not even be possible – imagine how that would impact the business or land owner? It may not seem like it, but we have entered a new reality. A reality of no return. Existing groundwater users need to realize this, so they can do the right (and smart) thing and apply for a licence prior to March 1, 2022,” stated Mike Wei.

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