Project Updates

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.

Third annual B.C. Water Leaders-Funders workshop held in Victoria

Resulting “B.C. Water Leaders’ Statement of Essential Elements for Freshwater Protection” presented to government

In early November, 35 water leaders and funders from across British Columbia came together for updates on a range B.C. freshwater policy priorities and to determine how to best strengthen the funder-leader interface. The position paper B.C. Water Leaders’ Statement of Essential Elements for Freshwater Protection (Dec 2018) was developed out of these meetings.

POLIS Wins 2018 Land Award

Water Sustainability Project Recognized as Freshwater Leader in B.C.

On October 11th, the POLIS Water Sustainability Project was recognized as a freshwater leader in B.C., when it was awarded the 2018 Land Award in the Fresh Water and Food Systems category by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. "It’s such an honour to even be considered among so many excellent projects and a vibrant community of change-makers,” said Oliver M. Brandes.

Majority of British Columbians bracing for future water crisis

2018 BC Freshwater Public Opinion Insights Topline Report relased

Released on the heels of record-setting wildfires, droughts, and floods, new opinion data shows that more than half of British Columbians worry about the potential for a major water crisis in their community.

Another 87 per cent believe the province will face a serious problem if nothing is done to improve the management of water resources in B.C. This is up from 76 per cent in 2013, according to polling results released in September 208 by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance...

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Looking Ahead

New handbook, environmental flows conference, and webinar season on horizon

Coming Fall 2018: New Handbook for Water Champions

What steps do local water champions need to take to gain influence and control in watershed decision-making? This fall, the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) and POLIS Water Sustainability Project will be releasing the new Handbook for Water Champions: Strengthening Decision-Making and Collaboration for Healthy Watersheds to help readers deepen their understanding of the “how-tos” of governance with practical advice and diagnostic tools. It unpacks the deeply complex and often messy social process of making choices, taking risks, and making compromises to achieve the long-lasting solutions and positive ecological outcomes that communities want and need...

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New research for local communities and water leaders looking to advance freshwater protection

Opportunities in British Columbia's Water Sustainability Act

New research released this week by the POLIS Water Sustainability Project outlines the potential of British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Act (WSA) when it comes to addressing water security and sustainability in the province. The brief is written for local communities and water leaders who want to support implementation of the WSA to advance freshwater protection.

“The Water Sustainability Act provides a number of promising tools that have the potential to address water challenges and promote sustainability,” said co-author Rosie Simms, researcher at the POLIS Water Sustainability Project...

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780 water champions come together for watershed governance forum

From record-breaking droughts and floods to conflicts over use and rights, fresh water across Canada and in B.C. is facing increasing threats. Addressing current and looming freshwater challenges requires new partnerships and innovative forms of shared authority and collaborative governance to respond to the many social and ecological needs of our watersheds.

For nearly a decade the POLIS Water Sustainability Project (WSP), along with many important partners, has been organizing and co-hosting the biennial series of Watersheds events...

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Experts gather on Columbia River Treaty and Indigenous rights

How do two neighbouring countries tackle vital questions on the renegotiation of an international water agreement involving important issues such as conservation, river health, flood control, hydropower generation, and Indigenous engagement for a 1,930-kilometre river in the heart of the Pacific Northwest?

This spring, approximately 200 people converged on the University of Victoria campus to discuss important topics surrounding the future of the Columbia River Treaty and the importance of Indigenous roles and responsibilities...

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Registration open for capstone virtual Watersheds 2018 event

Half-day online forum June 5th

On June 5th, building on the successes of past Watersheds events (2012 – 20142016), the POLIS Water Sustainability Project and partners will be hosting a capstone virtual Watersheds 2018 forum.

“This year, we are trying something new,” said Oliver M. Brandes, POLIS Water Sustainability Project Lead. “Instead of one large, in-person gathering like we’ve done in the past, we are hosting a series of focused in-person and virtual events, all under the banner of Watersheds 2018.”

So far, this series of events has featured a film screening and panel discussion on the Columbia River Treaty, a special session on sustainably science with Dr...

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Convening and Collaborating

Series of recent events offers variety of perspectives on water management and governance

This spring, the POLIS Water Sustainability Project team has been busy hosting and participating in a variety of events focused on various aspects of freshwater governance, planning, and protection. Looking toward the half-day Watersheds 2018 forum on June 5th, each of these recent events has offered different insight and perspective as B.C.’s freshwater community continues to work towards building capacity to advance watershed governance.

Tools for Groundwater-Surface Water Connectivity under SGMA Workshop
March 12, 2018

WSP Lead Oliver M...

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Indigenous and provincial governments work together to address water governance

Innovative Nicola watershed pilot project underway

On March 23rd Nicola Valley’s five First Nation bands and the Government of British Columbia made history when they co-signed the brand-new Nicola watershed pilot memorandum of understanding (MOU).

This innovative project will promote the co-leadership of water resources by the Province and the Nicola First Nations with an overarching goal of sustainable management and improved health of the Nicola watershed. This represents a potentially leading example of watershed governance in action as B.C...

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Collaborative Consent and British Columbia’s Water: Towards Watershed Co-Governance

New research from POLIS Water Sustainability Project and Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources

Collaborative consent provides a powerful way to tackle difficult questions about how Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments can work together to make decisions about water and land use.

Canada’s relationships with Indigenous peoples—and the institutions, laws, and policies governing these relationships—remain fraught with challenges 150 years into Confederation. These tensions are evident in freshwater governance in B.C. where First Nations are excluded from the major decision-making regime; yet the outcomes have a significant impact on Indigenous rights and important cultural, spiritual, and economic water uses...

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