Category Archives: Water Sustainability Act

Awash with opportunity: new report on the BC Water Sustainability Act

Cover of new report from Polis Water Sustainability Project
Cover of new report from Polis Water Sustainability Project

From POLIS Water Sustainability Project: Last week, the WSP released the new research report Awash with Opportunity: Ensuring the Sustainability of British Columbia’s New Water Law.

Authored by POLIS researchers Oliver M. Brandes, Savannah Carr-Wilson, Deborah Curran, and Rosie Simms, the report outlines what is needed to put the “sustainable” in the Water Sustainability Act.

With the new Water Sustainability Act replacing the 106-year-old Water Act in 2014, British Columbia has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to modernize its freshwater legislation and usher in a new era of water stewardship. The Water Sustainability Act has many promising features that can better protect the province’s fresh water. Yet full implementation of the new Act hinges on passing critical supporting regulations that will provide the necessary details to make the Act fully functional.

Awash with Opportunity: Ensuring the Sustainability of British Columbia’s New Water Law provides a timely analysis of the Water Sustainability Act and its core regulations required for it to reach its full potential as a comprehensive and modern water law. It offers clear recommendations based on leading international practices in five key areas:

  • Groundwater,
  • Environmental flows,
  • Monitoring and reporting,
  • Water objectives, and
  • Planning and governance

British Columbia’s fresh water is under pressure from an array of threats, including climate change, population growth, and escalating and competing demands for water. Conflict and concern mounts as watersheds across the province show signs of stress and pressure from unprecedented droughts. Water quality degradation and skirmishes over water use increase the urgency to act.

A comprehensive water law regime that includes a fully implemented Water Sustainability Act and a full suite of supporting regulations is a necessary condition to ensure that future water challenges do not become debilitating water crises.

The report specifically offers the Provincial government the necessary advice and insights needed to move beyond crisis response toward a fresh partnership approach with shared roles and responsibilities to protect B.C.’s water resources—now and into the future.

For more information, see the November 16th front-page article in The Province, which discusses the Government’s recently announced water rates and the findings of the new report; Rosie Simm’s discussion of the new report with Victoria’s CFAX 1070 on November 21st, or the forthcoming article, written by the report’s co-authors, in the Winter 2015 issue of BCWWA’s Watermark magazine.

[from POLIS Project on Ecological Governance / Water Sustainability Project Fall Newsletter]