Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Program Celebrates 10 Years

New Watershed Governance Dispatch Released by POLIS Water Sustainability Project

Published On: June 3rd, 2020

Released today, the latest publication in POLIS’ Watershed Governance Dispatch series focuses on the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN)’s Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Program.

RDN was the first regional district in British Columbia to create a service to explicitly protect water at a watershed scale. It remains a leading example of how local governments can drive innovation and play an influential leadership role in source drinking water protection and watershed governance.

“Written to inform decision-makers and practitioners, this new Dispatch describes the origin and establishment of RDN’s program, noteworthy program impacts, and key areas of work for the decade ahead,” said Oliver M. Brandes, Director of the POLIS Water Sustainability Project.

“Protecting and planning for our water requires a high level of collaboration,” said Julie Pisani, RDN Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Program Coordinator. “An important aspect of the DWWP Program is that it is regional in nature, with a focus on the natural boundaries of watersheds and aquifers to frame program activities, rather than political boundaries.”

The Dispatch outlines RDN’s success at securing sustainable long-term funding for the DWWP Program through an annual parcel tax, and also highlights how it has achieved other key winning conditions for watershed governance, including support and partnership with local government, and availability of data, information, and monitoring.

“With 10 years under its belt, including successes, failures, and changes to the program along the way, the DWWP Program offers a useful model for other local regions looking to safeguard water at a watershed scale,” said Oliver M. Brandes. “To date, the program has seen many tangible economic, community, and environmental benefits, making a strong case for watershed governance.”

Download Dispatch

Media Contact
Laura Brandes, Communications Director, POLIS Water Sustainability Project
[email protected]


The Watershed Governance Dispatch series was launched in January 2019. The series helps inform decision-makers and practitioners by highlighting leading practical examples and recent developments related to the implementation of watershed governance. Each Dispatch links to the winning conditions for watershed governance outlined in “A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia” (POLIS, 2014). Previous Dispatches include: