A watershed moment in BC water governance.
The modernization of the 104-year-old BC Water Act is finally happening. This is in large part thanks to people like you who have made the need to protect our home waters such an ever-present issue in the media, on the streets in the community, and throughout the last provincial election--it has been made clear that the government cannot delay this any longer.
A legislative proposal was released on Friday, October 18, and we now have 4 weeks to provide our comments and feedback. The devil is always in the details and with something as precious as water we can't afford to get this wrong.
The proposed Water Sustainability Act addresses seven key areas;
Protect stream health and aquatic environments.
Consider water in land-use decisions.
Regulate and protect groundwater.
Regulate water use during times of scarcity.
Improve security, water use efficiency and conservation.
Measure and report large scale water use.
Provide for a range of governance approaches.
These initiatives hold a lot of potential and many of the proposals are exactly what we need to bring water law into the 21st century. At first glance we at WaterWealth have identified a few areas where, although the suggestions are great, they need to be amplified and placed at the forefront of the proposed legislation. The BC government needs to hear louder voices from community members to emphasize the importance of things like enabling local decision making, ensuring due environmental assessment before allocating groundwater licenses, protecting water as a Public Trust, and engaging honourably with First Nations to determine policy objectives.
We need to speak up and ensure that the values of those of us who call this province home are upheld when it comes to water protection.
Over the coming days we will be studying the proposed legislation and flushing out a "Water Act Tool Kit" for our fellow community members. We urge everyone in BC to make time to review and respond to this proposal before November 15th. Together we made water a priority in the last election and got the government to come this far. Now we need to create the wave that carries the new Water Sustainability Act to shore.
Residents in BC need to comb through the proposal carefully, consider the long term outcomes from the various suggestions, and speak up by November 15. WaterWealth is going to work to make this easier. If you haven't already, sign our declaration and you will receive an email with a link to our Water Act toolkit when its ready.
We know that policy isn't everybody's cup of tea, but you're not alone in caring for our home waters and we can have fun doing it. Jump in, the water's great!