Water Sustainability Action Plan inspires action in Dawson Creek, BC
Note to Reader:
The following story was originally posted on the Water-Centric Planning community-of-interest in February 2011.
Embracing Change for Sustainability
In December 2006, Kim Stephens introduced Peace River communities to the vision for facilitiating change under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, with emphasis on the potential for the Water Bucket Website to “tell the stories” of change agents in the local government setting.
At the time, Emanuel Machado was with the City of Dawson Creek. In 2011, he was Manager of Sustainability Services and Special Projects with the District of Sechelt, BC. He is now the Chief Administrative Officer at the Village of Gibsons.
“Water in BC is under-valued, under-priced and over-used. The Water Bucket website is having a tremendous impact in helping communities in BC address that challenge by providing awareness, tools and resources that build capacity,” states Emanuel Machado, .
Below, Emanuel Machado provides this personal perspective on the Water Sustainability Action Plan and what it has meant to him as a practitioner in local government.
A Community in Transition
“Local governments are transitioning from simply pumping and treating water to managing earth’s most precious resource. An example of that transition can be seen in Dawson Creek (in Northeast British Columbia), a city at the forefront of the pressure being felt by communities across Canada due to climate change impacts and increased residential and industrial demands on aging water systems.”
“The December 2006 workshop that introduced the City to BC’s Water Sustainability Action Plan was a catalyst for that change. On a personal note, Kim Stephens has been a source of inspiration to me.”
Dawson Creek Water Strategy
“Water is a huge priority for our community, there have been summer drought conditions 4 of the last 5 years, with last summer being the most severe. Last summer we moved into Stage 4 of the water conservation bylaw for the first time, we remained in Stage 4 for approximately 18 days in August before the area received some much needed moisture,” reports Kevin Henderson, Director of Infrastructure & Sustainable Development.
“This staged approach was made possible through a ‘water conservation measures’ bylaw that was introduced a few years ago; this bylaw has four stages with each stage being more conserving.”
“Council adopted a ‘Water Strategy’ that includes a vision for water that closely aligns with the province’s Living Water Smart program. The City has recently introduced a new pricing structure to provide long term sustainability to the water utility fund. The new structure promotes conservation and is a true user pay structure.”
“Also, the City has entered into a partnership with a major oil company to build a water reuse facility that will treat the City’s effluent and reuse it for processes in the natural gas industry. Currently large volumes of potable water are being used for this. The new reuse facility will be producing water for industry by early 2012,” concludes Kevin Henderson.
To Learn More:
Click on Sustainable Dawson Creek to read about what Dawson Creek is doing. “Smart water planning in the present will ensure a clean, safe, reliable supply of water to meet the needs of Dawson Creek’s citizens far into the future,” emphasizes Kevin Henderson.
To download a copy of the City’s Water Strategy, click here
To download a copy of the City’s Water Rate Structure Review, click here.
Click on Sustainable Planning and Development – A Workshop for Small Communities in BC to read about the 2006 workshop.