Project Updates

Water Sustainability Plans in British Columbia: Potential, Options, and Essential Content

New research from POLIS Water Sustainability Project and Environmental Law Centre

A new Innovation Brief from the University of Victoria’s POLIS Water Sustainability Project and Environmental Law Centre investigates the myriad possibilities associated with Water Sustainability Plans, enabled by British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act, to address the water challenges ahead and embed sustainability in B.C.

Cowichan River Water Law Field Trip

A unique learning opportunity for enhancing dialogue and deepening connections

Over 30 people came together to participate in a water law field trip hosted by the the University of Victoria's POLIS Water Sustainability Project, Faculty of Law, and Centre for Global Studies in partnership with the Cowichan Watershed Board. Keen to explore local issues and applied law and governance, participants learned from experiences in Vancouver Island's Cowichan watershed.

A Letter from Natasha Overduin

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.

It’s Time to Modernize the Columbia River Treaty

POLIS contributing to ongoing discussion

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.

Funding for Water Sustainability a Priority in B.C.

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. Legislature

POLIS' 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.

Indigenous and Provincial Leaders Come Together in Unique Learning Exchange

Two-day Nicola & Cowichan watershed exchange a success

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 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. 

Webinar Videos Available

2018/2019 webinar season archived online

That'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 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.