I wish to clarify the inaccuracies of a Letter to the Editor printed in the July 6th edition of The Pioneer. The Province of British Columbia is undergoing a review of their 100-year-old Water Act. As part of this review, the province has been leading a public consultation process that Wildsight, along with many other community groups including the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, First Nations, water license holders, local government, industry, and other individuals across the province have participated in.
Though the province has not yet released the proposed draft Water Sustainability Act, they did release a Policy Proposal in 2010. It outlined a number of key policy directions, including protecting stream health and aquatic environments; considering water in land use decisions; regulating during scarcity; improving security, water use efficiency and conservation; measuring and reporting; regulating groundwater use; and enabling a range of governance approaches.
The province states that a modern BC Water Act will expand opportunities for collaboration and involvement in decision processes and will give a broader role to British Columbians. Many experts recognize that communities will play a larger role in water governance, while at the same time ultimate accountability for environmental protection will remain with the provincial government.
I encourage the writer to get involved, attend a Lake Windermere Ambassadors meeting, join in the collaborative governance conversation with the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, the Cowichan Basin Water Board, the Okanagan Basin Water Board, the Water Policy and Governance Group out of the University of Waterloo, FLOW (Forum for Leadership on Water), Ministry of Environment, and other experts.
Be a part of helping our community become better engaged in the future of water management in our region.
Water Stewardship Program Manager, Wildsight