A Vision for a conservation-based and resilient water system.

It should be noted that the below is not the view of the Regional Board, just one of its members. All of it is clearly subject to the decisions of the day, and is by no means a “program” or a policy document. Rather it is intended to communicate the vision that drives my votes at the Board table. Much of it aligns with elements of the SCRD’s 2013 Comprehensive Regional Water Plan. Some of it doesn’t. I may or may not be at the table when those votes are held. My role now is to interpret and represent the current needs of the community, with an eye the future, through the lens of the value set that elected me.

The vision below built upon the premise that long-term decisions around increasing water treatment capacity, further increasing supply, diversifying sources and distribution infrastructure will be expensive and ecologically impactful. As such, conservation is the most effective means of procuring “new “ water, but at the same time in the medium-term we do require further supply in times of drought or other climate change driven emergency such as fire.

            The steps listed below in bold emerge in chronological order, but there is clearly overlap, and no imperative to wait for the completion of one to begin another, however there are some limiting factors that include:

-financial impact on taxpayer and financial sustainability of water function within SCRD

-staff capacity to manage concurrent major projects while maintaining current service levels

-extensive legislative and regulatory processes that determine the timing of different aspects

-public support for and response to various stages as they are proposed or implemented

(Brackets like this include a reference to estimated time frames) The italics link the steps to some components of Resilience Theory. Resilience is sometimes defined as an ability to adapt to changing circumstances ie. Climate Change and Growth (Population x Consumption)

Water Glass 2

1. Act on a personal/household level to reflect our understanding of our bioregion’s changing relationship with water (done by many, summer 2015 and previously)

-summertime and year-round residential conservation methods applied

-commercial / agricultural conservation approaches

Resilience Components: Adaptation, Living within Limits, Shared Learning, Self-Activation, Redundancy, Decentralization, Inclusive Participation

 

2. Install water meters in Rural Areas and District of Sechelt (Rural Areas completion targeted 2017, Sechelt est. 2020? Grant dependent)

– provide data to householders and SCRD to inform conservation measures

– financially motivate those who haven’t changed behavior to do so

-identify leaks that will provide for more effective use of the water previously drawn, treated, transported and paid for.

Resilience Components:, Mutual Understanding, Shared learning, self-organization, managed connectivity,

 

3. Deepen Chapman Lake access channel to increase engineered access to natural storage capacity (Est. completion late 2017)

– once completed, a gravity fed system eliminates need for quickly flying in pumps, fuel, and staff in times of drought or emergency such as low creek levels endangering salmon, wildfire or earthquake

–delays/eliminates need to build and/or purchase land for concrete/plastic and energy intensive reservoir

-access only used and has ecological impact when required

–uses existing ecosystem service assets rather than creating human-built systems

Resilience Components: Adaptation (of Prov Park paradigm) Flexibility, Redundancy, Managed Connectivity

 

4. Research alternate source, likely aquifer, options (2 year Study recently approved, est, completion 2019, will lead to further feasibility study, impact assessment, community engagement, project proposals, etc. rough but realistic estimate of new source “tap ready” for Regional System…8 years at earliest?)

-build on existing knowledge and plans

-location of source fundamental to treatment capacity and storage decisions

-ideally close to areas of greatest population growth, and outside of Chapman System

Resilience Components: decentralization, flexibility, redundancy,

 

5. Set a water meter rate structure that is conservation-based, and socially equitable. (approx.. 1-year post completion Rural Area installation, est .2019?)

-research and apply best practices, incorporate Pender Harbour and Rural Area Data,

-specialized consultant to facilitate public process

Resilience Components: Inclusive Participation, Feedback Response, Managed Connectivity,

 

While concurrently….

– continuing to manage demand via education, Drought Management Plan (Stages 1-4) implementation, Water Bylaw enforcement , growth management (eg. OCP’s, WE Envision Smart Growth Land Use Principles) add effective rebate programs at appropriate times, amend building practices and policies within scope of SCRD

– and building capacity for a local Water Governance or Advisory Entity (eg. water board) that involves First Nations, Water Purveyors (SCRD), Local Stakeholders(SCCA), Provincial and Federal  ministry staff (VCH, MNFLRO,DFO), Watershed Landowners & Permit Holders, academic expertise and staff support. (Opportunities for the above currently emerging in new Provincial Water Sustainability Act legislation)

Resilience Components: Decentralization, Inclusive Participation, Shared Learning, Diversity, Mutual Understanding, Self- Organization, Managed Connectivity,

A Local Water Entity (above) along with source location, local growth patterns, environmental conditions, emerging best practices, traditional ecological knowledge, new technology, water meter data analysis and other factors would inform long term-decisions around further treatment capacity, location and source development.