New Watershed Governance Series for Practitioners and Decision-Makers

Published On: March 18th, 2019

In January, the POLIS Water Sustainability Project released the first publication in its new Watershed Governance Dispatch series. These short, focused research summaries for practitioners, politicians, and decision-makers describe the what, why, when, and how of recent and emerging innovative developments in watershed governance.

The goal is to help decision-makers and practitioners stay better informed about exciting developments happening across the province. Each instalment in the series will highlight a leading example related to the implementation of watershed governance in B.C.

“Watershed governance is an active and evolving priority in British Columbia,” said Oliver M. Brandes, Project Lead at the POLIS Water Sustainability Project. “As more communities look towards improving—and in some cases shifting—decision-making to a watershed scale, we’re finding that there’s increased appetite for communities to learn from practical real-world examples and what is happening in other communities across the province.”

The first Dispatch focuses on the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD)’s new Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Service, and outlines how the CVRD recently secured sustainable funding through taxation for local water protection.

“Across B.C. there is a growing trend towards freshwater protection at the local level,” said Oliver. “This innovative example from the Cowichan can offer both inspiration and practical how-to for politicians, decision-makers, and practitioners in other places across B.C.”

Each Dispatch will link to the ongoing work of the POLIS Water Sustainability Project and the winning conditions for watershed governance outlined in its 2014 report A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia. This latest Dispatch on the CVRD’s Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Service relates specifically to the winning condition of sustainable long-term funding.

The next instalment in the series will focus on the recent 10-year review of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program, including its many successes, as well as some of the challenges the program has faced over the past decade. This will offer insights for other communities that are considering ways to better protect local waters and address source protection.