News


Funding for Water Sustainability a Priority in B.C.

Budget 2020 and the future of fresh water

The provincial "Report on the Budget 2020 Consultation" was released on August 7th and recommendations regarding fresh water feature prominently. Since June, community and watershed organizations have been actively engaging in the consultation process, communicating that local water issues matter, and that an ongoing source of funding to support partnerships with First Nations, local governments, and watershed-based organizations is necessary ensure a sustainable water future for B.C.

Indigenous and Provincial Leaders Come Together in Unique Learning Exhange

Two-day Nicola & Cowichan watershed exchange a success

POLIS’ Oliver M. Brandes and Rosie Simms were privileged to be part of the Nicola & Cowichan Watershed Learning Exchange this past April. Elected leaders and staff from Cowichan Tribes and five Nicola First Nations came together with provincial and local government representatives and members of the Cowichan Watershed Board (CWB). The two-day exchange, including a field trip on the water in the Cowichan, offered a unique forum for co-learning, with the aim of strengthening mutual understanding about priority issues and innovative governance initiatives being led in the Cowichan and Nicola watersheds...

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Solutions for Canada’s Emerging Water Crisis

CWRA panel session explores how the federal government can provide leadership

POLIS’ Oliver M. Brandes, along with Merrell-Ann Phare (Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources) and Tony Maas (Forum for Leadership on Water), recently spoke at the annual Canadian Water Resources Association conference. Theirs was one of the best attended concurrent sessions of the conference, with a focus on water solutions for Canadians and the importance of modernizing the Canada Water Act. 

Aiki Conflict Resolution Training Lab

POLIS team pursues unique ways to build facilitation skills

In May, POLIS' Kelly Bannister, Natasha Overduin, and Rosie Simms donned keikogis at Shawnigan Lake Dojo to join fifth-degree aikido black belt John Petersen Sensei for a special day of aikido-inspired conflict resolution training. Aikido (the "way of harmonizing energy") is a martial art with a philosophy and practice based on meeting conflict with the power of non-resistance and redirecting it to peaceful and productive outcomes.

Story Shifters Lab

Participants explore personal stories, colonial attitudes, and working respectfully as non-Indigenous agents of change

On June 4th, Anne Donaldson of the Storytellers’ Foundation facilitated a “Story Shifters Lab” at the University of Victoria. Leaders and funders in watershed governance came together to explore how their personal stories (and the public narratives we hear) work to recreate colonial attitudes, laws, and policy in Canada. The lab provided a space to analyze and question difficult, emotionally-charged, real-life issues. Participants unpacked their roles in current colonial practices as they seek to work respectfully and effectively as non-Indigenous agents of power and change in a context that is still heavily laden with colonial legacy...

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New Handbook for Water Champions

Practical guide for communities taking action and making decisions for B.C. watersheds

Released in May, the Handbook for Water Champions: Strengthening Decision-Making and Collaboration for Healthy Watersheds is a practical guide intended for local groups, collaborative organizations, and Indigenous and Crown governments seeking to better understand watershed governance. Inside, readers can find answers to questions such as: -Why is local involvement in decision-making a solution to many challenges? -How can we get started? -Who needs to be involved? -What does it look like to build respectful collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous neighbours? -What aspects of watershed governance can provincial and local government staff and politicians help deliver?

Job Posting: Research & Special Projects Coordinator

TITLE: Research & Special Projects Coordinator

ORGANIZATION: POLIS Water Sustainability Project, University of Victoria

JOB OVERVIEW: This is 1-year position that is renewable pending funding and candidate fit, with a 6-month probation period. Part time option possible. FTE entry salary 38-50k commensurate with experience.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: The POLIS Water Sustainability Project is seeking a highly organized, motivated, and growth-oriented Research Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator to join our team at the University of Victoria...

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New Watershed Governance Series for Practitioners and Decision-Makers

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. This series will support local efforts to advance watershed governance and water sustainability through practical, real-world examples.

Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication

2019 Conference on Communication and Environment in Vancouver

From June 17-21, 2019 the 15th international Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) will be held in Vancouver, B.C., on the traditional unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Communicating water is the theme of this year's conference. It will focus on the challenges faced by water communicators and new ways of telling our water stories, with the goal of fostering more effective, inspiring, ethical, and hopeful environmental and sustainability communication. POLIS’ Laura Brandes will be in attendance, presenting on a panel on water governance and collaboration.

B.C Government responds to POLIS Recommendations Report

Steps being taken to improve water quality and protection in B.C.’s Hullcar Valley

One year after POLIS released a recommendations report to improve source water protection and agricultural nutrients in B.C.’s polluted Hullcar aquifer, the B.C. Government has published the Hullcar (Clcahl) Aquifer Response Plan Report, which summarizes government’s response to the 90 recommendations put forward by POLIS.

Is B.C. keeping its freshwater promises?

New research from the POLIS Water Sustainability Project evaluates a decade of “Living Water Smart” and key provincial water commitments

It has been 10 years since British Columbia released its Living Water Smart plan, a visionary provincial strategy with 45 commitments for managing fresh water in B.C. While some headway has been made, new research from the POLIS Water Sustainability Project reveals that nearly one-third of those commitments have seen minimal progress to date.