The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance – Water Sustainability Project has released the consensus on water values, governance and priorities from the Watersheds 2014 Forum in January. From the document:
Watersheds 2014: Towards Watershed Governance in British Columbia and Beyond was held on Cowichan Tribes territory in Duncan, British Columbia from January 27th to 29th, 2014. This forum attracted nearly 200 delegates, plus an additional over 75 virtual participants via online satellite events across the country. The delegates came from a diversity of backgrounds—including watershed groups, researchers, professional resource managers, and decision-makers at all levels of government,
including First Nations—who came together to re-envision the way we use, share, and respect our freshwater and watershed resources. This consensus represents the general spirit of common understanding of values, principles, and priorities by those at the forum and is supported by a number of organizations which were partners on the event.
Our Common Values
Water is life. Water is our relation. Water bonds us across time and place to our ancestors, to our descendants, and to our land. Water nourishes, replenishes, cleanses, and refreshes. It is the source of food, sustains our salmon, supports our rich
environment, and powers our economy. It is critical to our community and economic prosperity.
Water cannot be owned as it is shared by all life on Earth. It is a public trust that provides a universal link between all cultures and species, requiring us to understand each other’s experiences, histories, and identities. As such, we each have a duty of
stewardship and share a mutual responsibility to ensure water is protected and stewarded to provide for its availability for the health and resilience of all life.