A Perspective on the 2015 Drought: What Happens on the Land Matters!
Drought on the West Coast:
A New Reality?
Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime. Communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable precipitation to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. It has been difficult even for experts to grasp the extent of what the loss of relative hydrological stability means. Last year, in an online poll conducted by CBC News, the public chose the drought as British Columbia’s “Top Story of 2015”.
Understand the Relationship between
Land and Water
“Communities in southwest BC dodged a bullet in 2015. The clock is ticking. Communities need to leverage this teachable year and seize opportunities to change how the water resource is viewed and managed. This starts with an understanding of the relationship between land and water,” emphasizes Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
“Restoring the absorbency of the urban landscape would stretch the seasonal population-support capacities of water storage reservoirs – by reducing demand for landscape irrigation water – and sustain environmental flows during droughts. It would also reduce stream erosion in wet weather.”
”Too often people think of land and water as being independent – almost like silos. But what we do on the land, and whether we treat the land with respect, has direct implications and consequences for water use. The Water Sustainability Act connects these dots,” concludes Kim Stephens.
To Learn More:
Much of the detail related to implementation of the Water Sustainability Act is provided in regulations and operational policies. An initial set of regulations also came into effect on February 29, 2016.
Due to the number of proposed regulations and policies, government is taking a phased approach to their development and work in this area continues. Visit https://engage.gov.bc.ca/watersustainabilityact/