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After over five years as a key player at the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, long-time team member Natasha Overduin is leaving POLIS as she transitions to the next chapter in her professional career. Here is a farewell letter from Natasha.
The Columbia River Treaty (CRT) came into force between Canada and the United States in 1964 with a narrow scope focused on flood control and hydropower production. Fifty-five years later, times have changed. New thinking is needed to ensure a sustainable future for this important river. The POLIS team has been contributing to the ongoing discussion around how to modernize the CRT and achieve a world-class, basin-wide governance approach that can encompass a wide range of issues and players.
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.
POLIS and Democracy
POLIS team at B.C. LegislaturePOLIS' Oliver M. Brandes and Rosie Simms were at the provincial legislature on July 3rd for a briefing with the B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and to lead a delegation to support sustainable groundwater management implementation in B.C.
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 in a unique two-day learning exchange with the aim of strengthening mutual understanding about priority issues and innovative governance initiatives being led in the Cowichan and Nicola watersheds.
Solutions for Canada’s Emerging Water Crisis
CWRA panel session explores how the federal government can provide leadershipPOLIS’ 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.
Webinar Videos Available
2018/2019 webinar season archived onlineThat's a wrap! The ninth season of POLIS' Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series wrapped up in May, and the videos and webinar summaries are now available online. Check out the webinar archives now.
Aiki Conflict Resolution Training Lab
POLIS team pursues unique ways to build facilitation skillsIn 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 changeOn 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.
New Handbook for Water Champions
Practical guide for communities taking action and making decisions for B.C. watershedsReleased 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?
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.
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.