August 2016

This hosts' statement and summary draws on the February 2016 Forum on Environmental Flow Needs in British Columbia, convened by POLIS and WWF-Canada to discuss the need for and steps required to implement an effective environmental flow management regime for BC. Attendees spanned a diversity of groups, including government, First Nations, NGOs, and leading experts and professionals. This document summarizes the context of environmental flows management in British Columbia, and offers recommendations on next steps and priority actions for the Province to advance environmental flows management. 

POLIS Water Sustainability Project, WWF-Canada
November 2015

This statement of expectations for an environmental flow needs regulation under B.C.'s Water Sustainability Act (WSA) was spurred by a October 2015 workshop that was attended by a diversity of individuals working on issues related to water sustainability. Attendees represented First Nation groups, watershed boards, funding organizations, stewardship groups, and academia. The stakeholders expect that an environmental flow needs regulation will build on the points set out in the general Environmental Sector Expectations for Regulations under BC's WSA. The 9 expectations for environmental flow needs (EFNs) include:

  1. EFNs must be addressed in binding regulations,  
  2. First Nations rights and title must be included as part of EFNs management,
  3. Regulations must require that EFNs be protected when issuing new licences.
October 2015

This decision-makers' brief outlines and summarizes the results of a recent in‐depth research review on water governance challenges specific to hydraulic fracturing across Canada. It identifies some of the primary concerns associated with the current approach to management and governance, and offers specific actions to help address the emerging challenges. The brief is primarily focused on British Columbia, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Nova Scotia, but also informed by developments in Alberta and Quebec. It highlights a number of key actions required for decision‐makers to consider when addressing governance challenges related to water and hydraulic fracturing.

The brief is based on research undertaken as part of one of five projects within the Canadian Water Network hydraulic fracturing program, particularly research informing the Regional Snapshot Report: Building Capacity to Build Trust: Key Challenges for Water Governance in Relation to Hydraulic Fracturing (October, 2015).

Michele-Lee Moore, Rosie Simms, Oliver M. Brandes, Karena Shaw, and Heather Castleden
September 2015

British Columbia's Water Sustainability Act (WSA) is expected to come into force in early 2016. In late summer 2015, the Ministry of Environment accepted public feedback to guide the development of the first phase of WSA regulations. Drawing primarily from a forthcoming POLIS report on WSA regulations, the WSP prepared a formal submission specific to the proposed groundwater regulations. This submission outlines key concerns and priorities in moving forward, including seven recommendations to help make B.C.'s groundwater regulations robust and effective.  

Further Reading

The first POLIS Water Act modernization submission (April 2010)
The second POLIS Water Act modernization submission (March 2011)
The third POLIS Water Act modernization submission (November 2013)
POLIS WSP's submission on "Pricing B.C.'s Water" Discussion Paper (April 2014)

July 2015

This summary brief focuses on the significance and implications of the landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision Tsilhqot’in Nation v B.C.This brief provides only a succinct, high-level overview of this detailed and complex decision, with a primary focus on summarizing the outcome of two expert panel discussions regarding the ruling.

The Pacific Business & Law Institute hosted one of these two expert panel discussions in July 2014. The second event, Aboriginal Title and Provincial Regulation: The Impact of Tsilhqot'in Nation v B.C., was hosted by The POLIS Water Sustainability Project and the University of Victoria's Faculty of Law and Centre for Global Studies in September 2014.

Raluca Hlevca, Megan Spencer and Savannah Carr-Wilson
June 2015

This statement of expectations for regulations under B.C.'s Water Sustainability Act was spurred by a May 2015 workshop that was attended by a diversity of individuals working on issues related to water sustainability. Attendees represented First Nation groups, watershed boards, funding organizations, stewardship groups, and academia. The stakeholders expect that that the 7 key areas of improvement outlined in the Province's WSA legislative proposal will be translated into regulations to realize the full potential of the WSA. The 7 overarching expectations include:

  1. Protect stream health and aquatic environments,
  2. Improve security, water use efficiency and conservation, and 
  3. Provide for a range of governance opportunities.
June 2015

This statement of expectations for groundwater regulations under B.C.'s Water Sustainability Act (WSA) was spurred by a May 2015 workshop that was attended by a diversity of individuals working on issues related to water sustainability. Attendees represented First Nation groups, watershed boards, funding organizations, stewardship groups, and academia. The stakeholders expect that groundwater regulations will build on the points set out in the general Environmental Sector Expectations for Regulations under BC's WSA. The 7 expectations for groundwater include:

  1. The regulations will define sustainable groundwater management,
  2. There will be substantial reporting and monitoring requirements, and  
  3. Licences will only be issued in compliance with sustainable groundwater management criteria.
March 2015

This briefing note analyzes the B.C. provincial government’s new fee and rental schedule for water users and sets out several recommendations that the Province may wish to adopt in the coming years to help ensure provincial water licence pricing provides adequate resources to support the full implementation of B.C.'s new Water Sustainability Act and truly reflects the value of fresh water. 

Savannah Carr-Wilson with Oliver M. Brandes and Rod Dobell
November 2014

This statement of support for B.C.'s Water Sustainability Act and its regulations was the result of an October 2014 workshop that was attended by a diversity of individuals working on issues related to water sustainability. Attendees represented First Nation groups, watershed boards, funding organizations, stewardship groups, and academia. This statement focuses on the need for the provincial government to:

  1. Ensure meaningful and adequate engagement with First Nations, and
  2. Provide sufficient resources for implementation of the B.C. Water Sustainability Act.
August 2014

This briefing note draws on lessons learned from two resilience analysis workshops that were held in watersheds in New Brunswick and British Columbia in 2014. It provides a concise explanation of what resilience means in a watershed context and uses the workshop activities to demonstrate key concepts. It also describes the potential for using resilience concepts in watershed management and planning.

Ryan Plummer, Julia Baird, Katrina Krievins, Oliver M. Brandes, and Michele-Lee Moore

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