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Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act released

New to the Water Act Modernization Discussion? Click here for background

Today, we are pleased to release our Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act and welcome you to join us in the next phase of Water Act modernization.

The paper outlines the proposed Water Sustainability Act (WSA), which updates and builds on the current Water ActShaped by the combined input of British Columbians, Ministry staff and external advisors from a range of sectors, the WSA responds to current and future pressures on water, and positions B.C. as a leader in water stewardship. The Policy Proposal summarizes the overall framework and key features of the WSA.

Click here to read the Policy Proposal on a New Water Sustainability Act

All British Columbians have a role to play in ensuring a sustainable future for water. We’d like your feedback on the Policy Proposal to help us make sure we are continuing to move in the right direction. 

Beginning in January 2011, Ministry of Environment staff will explain key features of the WSA in greater detail on the Living Water Smart Blog.

We’ll be providing more information on the engagement process in the coming weeks. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and for your commitment to water stewardship. Together, we can build a sustainable future for British Columbia’s water resources.

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43 comments to Policy Proposal on British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act released

  • Antony Paller

    I think the policy should apply to any body’s of water not just ground water or streams, need to include rain water, lakes, streams, creeks, groundwater

  • Simon Pritchard - concerned citizen

    All we ever hear about is increased regulation – are we so irresponsible that we always need more regulation? All regulation ever does is increase the cost of what they are trying to regulate! And who pays? I can see increased regulation hurting the agricultural sector the most. Everyone bleats about food security and self-sufficiency, but don’t realise what it takes to achieve it. They would rather see their lakes full, than put the water to some good use – like producing food! With the talk of wetter winters due to climate change, why are we not storing more water from winter precipitation, and making it available in the dryer months? Are the regulations doing anything to encourage increased storage? The environment is important – yes, but there needs to be a sensible balance with the economic facts of life.

  • James Casey WWF Canada

    Looking over the Water Sustainability Act one of the questions that has occurred to me is how will this act incorporate other pieces of policy? For instance the Fish Protection Act gives the government the ability to identify Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds based on two determining factors: ‘they must have significant fisheries values and watershed sensitivity.” The question then is how will existence of already identified Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds influence the designation of areas as chronic problem areas as proposed in the Water Sustainability Act?
    Many Thanks,
    James Casey
    WWF-Canada

  • Jeffery Young, David Suzuki Foundation

    Some comments specifically on ensuring ecosystem-based flows are maintained in streams:
    – it is encouraging to see a potential commitment through the WSA to restrict existing and future licences to meet instream flow requirements
    – water sustainability planning in areas of water stress is a good element
    – More prescriptive approaches should be included to ensure minimum, ecosystem-based IFRs are recovered and maintained.

  • alex mack. inacent bi-standerd

    most water consumtion is done by the big oil comapies in alberta for th oils sands and the water they dont use is poluted as tailing ponds wich seep out into local ecosystems killing local life,and you guys (the government) are ok with this because the keep paying you guys a nice fat check.in my opinion our environment is not worth any amount of money.

  • Southerland Creek Waterworks District

    From all appearances the intent of the Govt. is to privatize what are now Improvement Districts. The recent changes ie. from Financial review to full audit, the requirement to establish values on all equipment and the inability for Improvement Districts to obtain grants. Our system has been paid for by the users with no funding from any branch of Govt. We currently meet all health requirements, We do not pay our Trustees, We have maintained our annual tolls at very reasonable levels. While the water may belong to the Govt. the system belongs to the users.

  • island resident

    The only way this should be “marketed” is if the water is not transferred/sold to another country. That is the only way our water remains sustainable. The most frightening position will be if control is given to foreign ownership without those restrictions. If you look at the 3rd world countries that is what happened to their water. Canada! Do you want to be like them?

  • Rob Forbes

    I strongly oppose the contents of the Water Modernization Act! Water is not a resource, it is a necessity of life! My main concern is the preservation of public control and ownership over all of our bodies of water no matter how big or small in BC. We need to see greater environmental protection of all of our waters and the ecosystems that depend upon those bodies of water. I am deeply upset at the lack of public knowledge about this very important issue. Most British Columbians are very under educated on the topic and would be shocked at the dire consequences of this bill passing with so little public input.

    I would like to know what portion of the population would have to be in opposition to scrap this bill?

    Public consultation should include an obligation on the government’s part to ensure the majority of its citizens are aware of and understand the contents of this bill before it passes! The future of BC’s public water is at stake and it feels like our government is selling out. We can not survive without water. We, the people of British Columbia, need absolute and full legal control of the water that we are are lucky to have flowing through and under our land.

  • concerned citizen

    This policy simply must be stopped. Of all the things this government has done, this has the frightening standard of being the most damaging. Just watch “Blue Oil” and you’ll see where this is headed. PLEASE STOP THIS! It makes NO sense! Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot!

  • John Renton

    The government should leave our drinking water out of the hands of business organizations.
    It belongs to us not the government to do with as they wish.
    The government should concentrate on running the provence not ruining it.
    Government actions will reflect citizens votes.

  • Martin Oldfield

    Is this a “DONE DEAL” like the HST fiasco?

    How do we stop this?

    Water is the only resource we have left that hasn’t been sold to foreign interests and will be very precious for our future generations.

    This can not happen.

  • S Paul

    Are you joking??? Water is necessary to sustain all life and CANNOT become a commodity like you – the government propose. Other countries have been sold this “fairy tale story” or had little choice but WE – in Canada will STAND UP against this. In fact, WE will RISE UP and FIGHT…..

  • Richard Hagensen Council of Canadians (Campbell River Chapter)

    I am against the introduction of a water market as the basis of allocation of water under the new Water Act. Water allocation should be governed first and foremost by the principles of meeting social need and ensuring no environmental degradation NOT profit making by individuals and businesses. Water is a public asset and access to water is a human right. Therefore, the new Water Act should not be focusing on treating water as a commodity which in essence, privatizes water.

  • Arless McNeill

    I see a lot of words, but not much real information.
    I see “would”, “should”, and “could”. These words are vague. I do not see “will”, “are”, “is”, or any wording that indicates a positive concrete result! Where one of these stronger terms are used, it is soon weakened by the following would/could/should. The writing on these pages indicates to me that the authors/government are hedging their bets, distancing themselves from the consequences of their work (built in deniability), and that they are unsure of what the end result will achieve, if it achieves anything at all.
    Lets have some clear, solid facts, ladies and gentlemen, not pages of airy supposition.

  • citizen

    Please help to ensure that water remains public and not private. We need to ensure that the water supply will not be contaminated and it will always be available to the public. Limitations and restrictions should be applied to industry. We in the Peace were not able to water our gardens in the summer as industry had reduced the river that supplies our water to a trickle. I believe in industry as it provides jobs, but there needs to be balance. Keep our water supply safe!

  • Oliver Gunther

    In a world that is facing more and more environmental problems due to climate change, population growth and related factors, it is of great importance to initiate actions that counter predicted negative impacts early on and present an example to others, in all areas where changed is needed, of how things can be started and followed through. I congratulate the BC Government for the way they are approaching the question of BC Water Act Modernization, especially the focus on sustainability and their extensive efforts to include public opinion in various forms throughout the process. Involvement of the public in the decision making process on this level demonstrates how evolved democratic values are in Canadian society, and, when reminding ourselves that not many people in this world today will ever have a chance to participate in something like this, is reason to be thankful for this opportunity.

    The question that keeps coming up for me when reading through the materials is: How much “Sustainable Water Act” is in the “Water Sustainability Act”? As part of my input I would like to suggest that, to the extend possible, the term sustainability is defined clearly early on in the proposal. I think it is especially important to state the relative importance of supporting natural ecosystems versus ensuring a regenerating source of water for human consumption – the latter being the main focus of the WSA. A precise definition of sustainability would help clarify issues that can otherwise arise from the confusion. It it possible that the opposition to principle 5 partially stems from different interpretations of what sustainability means.

    The first paragraph on Wikipedia’s sustainability page (as of Feb.4, 2011) states that “Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.”. Transferring this to the WSA, my question can be restated as: How important is watershed endurance in the context of water consumption?

    It might be beneficial for achieving an increased shared understanding of the BC Water Sustainable Act to add a section on sustainability of natural ecosystems and to clearly show how this ties into the overall WSA strategy, providing a view that looks at the issue from a different, supplementary direction. The WSA is not primarily about assigning water from sustainable ecosystems to various water users but about sustainably serving water users and where the two approaches meet is where some of the discussions seem to arise.

  • Jen Fisher-Bradley Women's Food and Water Initiative

    I agree with Richard Tarnoff that we need an overarching statement that clearly places BC’s water in the commons as a basic UN Declared Human Right. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/gashc3987.doc.htm

    The overarching statement will help to give the legislation it’s spirit, so that when court cases arise there will be spirit and intent to guide the settlements.

    We need protection for Karst water resources since they are very fragile and yet particularly useful for agriculture due to the natural mineralization.

    Governance: Due to the affects of climate change on food and food prices I think there is a need to use much tougher legally binding language in allocating water resources for agriculture.

    Governance: Where there is urban farming, and there will be more and more urban farming, the province needs to assure British Columbians that there will be support for these community local-food growers in the form of subsidies and/or waivers on their water bills.

    And the elephant in the room, clear cut logging, is destroying/incapacitating our watersheds. We cannot take the forest out of the water cycle equation.

  • Sue Helmer

    As a B.C.Accommodation Operator and property owner who’s property is situated next to a registered spring system on crownland in the rural area we very much agree protecting naturally flow sensitive streams and ecosystem health.

    Protect the spring ecosystem on crownland from motorized joy riders, skidoos,dirt bikes and ATV’s.
    Protect the surrounding area from dumping garbage.If necessary, a water licence holder should have a right to put a sign “No Tres Pass” or other signs in similar effect on the permited stretch to occupy crownland.

    Water licence fees should remain reasonably low and affordable to all B.C.property owners.

    Sue Helmer

  • Leslie Goresky

    I am very concerned about the new Water Sustainability Act and the security of our water resources in BC. I do not believe water should be a commodity and any legislation that may jeopardize this, should be thoroughly and publicly scrutinized. This blog is not an adequate forum to educate or hear the many voices of British Columbia. This is an extremely important issue which should not be pushed through as if time is of the essence. With the ongoing, non-public CETA negotiations, water will be open to litigation. Our continuing failure to meet the terms of the soft-wood lumber agreement are frustrating enough. How much will this legislation cost us in the future? I do not believe various organizations, that have the resources to research this and other issues, give many hours of volunteer time, make up frivolous concerns over non-issues.

  • Carol Hill

    Creating a sustainable future for water is a great idea,I’m just not sure this is the B.C. governments agenda. I feel most of the people in B.C. would agree to be a part of a sustainable future,in fact I know of many groups who are currently trying to protected their watersheds among other environmental issues.When stated in the Policy Proposal how statutory decision makers under a variety of statues (eg.Forestry Range ACT,Oil and gas Activities ACT) CONSIDER water when making decisions.This does not show me that resource extraction will be held to high standards,very concerning.In my experience in trying to protect my local watershed from a clear cut we had more success with the logging company and the license holder then we did with the BCTS or FPB (government)(this was in 2010).
    I feel this Proposal has no concrete information and I have a hard time understanding what changes are going to be made and at what coast or benefit to the public.I agree we all have a part to play in a healthy environment and change of policy could be a good thing,but not at the coast of the public’s right’s to water.My biggest fear is seeing B.C. water become the next hot commodity.At the very least I would like this proposal to have more time in public feedback process and I would like to here about it in the mainstream media,which has been lacking,1500 e-mails is a very small scale. I have so much more to say and probably will but for now I would just like to add that I agree with all of Nelle Maxy’s input and will continue to follow her and others on this subject.
    Carol Hill.

  • Lee Sexsmith - Alder Hills Golf

    I have no idea how I finally get to this comment page!! Something must have worked just as I was going to quit. Terrible website.

    I’m not inclined to bother looking again, so I’ll add a comment regarding protection from deliberate flooding.

    Giscome Road, in the City of Prince George, bisects a natural drainage and the road created ponding of trapped water, because there was no culvert. There are no Storm Drains, other than road side ditching, in this area of town. The bottom of the Storm Water “ditch” was about the same level as my property and the flood waters would regularly leak out on to my property.

    To add to my misery, the city created a berm between my property and their ditch. The berm was make of ditch garbage and leaked water which would flood onto my property, but the water took months to get back into the city drainage ditch.

    I objected to the city storm water, sand, salt and road garbage being deposited on my property and asked for the berm to be removed and the ditch re-ditched to hold the expected storm waters. The city refused to do anything.

    Under the old water act the city had done an illegal thing by creating the berm and flooding my property regularly and deliberately. Once my property dried out I removed the city berm, so that when my property was inundated by the city storm water collection system, at least the water could go back into the ditch as the water subsided. The city was furious and made threats, but the law in the Water Act was on my side.

    Therefore, I trust the part of the Water Act that protects the public from hostile authorities, is not weakened in the new Act. Without the protections afforded in the old Water Act, citizens are vulnerable to agendas that consider another’s personal investments as expendable.

  • Clarence denBok

    I, too, await and expect your reply to Nelle Maxey’s January 4th question, which she repeated on January 17th and which remains unanswered.

  • Steve Brocklebank MCWUC

    I believe that Point of Use treatment for small water systems ought to be built into reforms of any of these water related acts. All of the acts seem to contradict each other on this point.
    There are tens of thousands of British Columbians that draw their drinking water from pure natural small systems that have had no reported problems ever.
    If Point of Use Treatment for the all individual users of such systems was approved, and the individual users signed on in agreement to treat their own water with appropriate treatment, then the onus for proper treatment to make the water potable would be on the individuals. The systems could continue to function as they always have without huge new infrastructure costs for chlorination treatment, etc. at Point of Entry to the systems.
    Point of entry for many small systems is way up some mountainside where lack of power makes point of entry treatment impractical.

  • Kim

    Growing up in agriculture I have a keen interest in the ways new regulations and specifications will affect the agriculture industry.
    I am interested in knowing whether actual water use will be determined before requiring the citizens of BC to implement metering systems; are license holders today using less or more than their quota?
    In addition, what is the priority of water use in times of drought? Where does agriculture fit in relation to drinking water, stream health, ecosystems and development when water levels are low and licence holders are required to minimize or stop using water?
    To keep our contry as beautiful tomorrow as it is today, it is very important to update the Water Act. HOweever it is equally important to ensure that the conditions and regulations are in favor of BC’s residents

  • Rob Paynter, interested citizen

    I need to declare at the outset that although I am a member of BC’s Public Service, my work is not associated with water policy, my views are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect the positions of any provincial agency.

    I am very interested in the regulation of ground water, and in particular the necessity of undertaking the data collection necessary to undertake effective management. I believe that mapping of aquifers and a clear understanding of water flows through each needs to be a first step for any large-scale withdrawal application or where the concentration of domestic users is equivalent to large-scale withdrawal volumes. I believe there sould be some consideration given to the adoption of water conservation measures for both domestic and large scale users as a precursor to issuance of permits or increases to permitted use. I also believe that in terms of allocation, priority needs must take precedence over order of rights allocation.
    I believe that aquifer mapping and formal monitoring programs should be instituted for all “priority” aquifers and expanded to address all aquifers where permitted discharge is believed to meet a certain percentage of recharge rate. I believe that while a threshold level of proposed extraction may be an appropriate trigger for increased oversight, actual permitting should be tied to aquifer recharge rates rather than gross volumes. As we face growing climate change, aquifer volumes should be viewed as the capital rather than the interest that can be spent.
    Along with modernization orf the Water Act, there should be consideration for revisions to the Environmwental Assessment Act, which attempts to (rather awkwardly in my opinion) address the potential environmental impacts of ground water usage.

    Thanks very much for the opportunity to express my views. I look forward to monitoring the process toward modernised legislation and regulations.

  • Jason Herz

    I also have to say that it is rather confusing to find ones way around this site. It would seem that only the five or six comments below are available. The archives seem to have no public comments that I can see.
    As for the document the language seems to say that water is of prime concern but I think history has shown that that is not the case. the protection of our fresh water should be at the pinnacle of the protection pyramid with all other uses falling below. Assuming that mitigation can be done to repair impacts does not justify causing those impact. Such is the language in the Forest Stewardship Plans. If impacts can be filtered out by the downstream purveyors of water than the resource extraction may occur. In addition the FSPs state that any impacts must not be allowed to occur UNLESS preventing the occurrence would “unduly impact the supply of timber”.
    Hardly language that protects the environment or our water. I hope it is not just more smoke and mirrors.

  • Susan McLoughlin

    In an era where water is increasingly seen as “blue gold” – the most attractive global commodity, it is absolutely essential that our water policy define in very clear and unambiguous language exactly who owns the water in our province. Our water must never be permitted to become a commodity that can be negotiated away from the citizens of the province by any level of government. Governments at all levels are elected by the citizens of Canada to represent our interests and the protection of our water is one of the most basic of our interests.

  • Richard Tarnoff, Water System Operator

    I have just read the Policy Proposal on BC’s New Water Sustainability Act and would like to make some comments. Before I do, however, I wonder if anyone else has had difficulty finding the page on which to make comments? I think the directions to this web page could be improved.

    The Policy Proposal contains many valuable suggestions for protecting fresh water resources, including regulating ground water usage, which is long overdue. However, I was disappointed that the Proposal does not begin with a statement affirming fresh water as a common property right of all British Columbians. Fresh water is essential for the survival of all species and needs to be maintained as a regulated public resource, not privatised and turned into a tradeable commodity. Unfortunately, language in the proposal such as “tradable permits”, “transfers”, and “facilitate effective future water rights trading”, suggests that privatisation and commodification are being quietly built into the Proposal.

    This would be a mistake for a number of reasons. Even without privatisation, there have been numerous instances where conflicts over water use have resulted in damage to the environment. One need look no further than Alcan’s diversion of the Nechako River. Alcan’s claim to have been given the right to use the water for generating electricity convinced the government to allow massive harm to chinook salmon populations and to the Cheslatta Indian Band. BC Hydro has also commonly managed water flows to maximize power generation at the expense spawing salmon.

    If fresh water were to become private property, the primary goal for owners would be profit, not the needs of communities, the environment or agriculture. Any public act that reduced the market value of this property could be challenged under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Section 11 of NAFTA gives corporations the right to sue governments where regulations have interfered with trading rights. These challenges are heard in secret and are not subject to appeal. More often than not, governments pay hefty settlements to avoid the prospect of losing. If history is anything to go by, government assurances that regulations will prevent abuses should be looked at very skeptically. To make matters worse, even publicly suggesting that an activity might cause serious damage to the environment can be attacked legally, as detrimental to future earnings. Known as SLAPPs, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, these lawsuits are commonly used in Canada to silence criticism of private developments.

    Privatisation of water could also allow cash strapped municipalities to sell their water systems and water rights. In places where this has happened, such as the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, multi-national corporations have bought the systems and then raised rates so drastically that thousands of poorer customers were unable to pay and lost water service. Again, as in the provision of health care, having to generate a profit for the company that delivers the service, guarantees that costs to users will be higher.

    At present, users of surface water are issued permits to take what they need. If they go out of business, their licenses are extinguished. If there is sufficient water in the lake or river, new permits are issued. For the most part, this system has worked well for over 100 years. The Water Sustainability Act is an opportunity to modernize and correct some problems with this system, but the the basic premise is sound and needs to be retained

    • LWSEditor

      **EDIT – Great comments Richard. At various times in the WAM engagement process and in many submissions we’ve heard concerns about selling BC’s water and NAFTA. These are valid concerns, so we feel it is important to be clear on this issue.

      We are not privatizing BC’s water or turning it into a commodity. Water is vested in the Crown under the current Water Act and this will not change in the proposed Water Sustainability Act. References to tradable permits, transfers and future water trading in the Policy Proposal on BC’s new Water Sustainability Act are about permits to use water and managing water use during times of scarcity. Water will not become private under the proposed Water Sustainability Act; doing so would run counter to our objectives to ensure a sustainable future for BC’s water.

      The Water Protection Act preserves and protects British Columbia’s water for British Columbians. The Water Act Modernization process and the proposed Water Sustainability Act are about improvements to the Water Act and will not change the Water Protection Act. Visit this page for more information on the Water Protection Act.

      • Binclan

        Richards Statement
        “However, I was disappointed that the Proposal does not begin with a statement affirming fresh water as a common property right of all British Columbians.”
        Needs a response.

  • Nelle Maxey, water license holder

    The proposal to make domestic use water licenses a “permitted” use rather than a licensed use was a very contentious proposal in the last round of consultation. Yet I see no reference to this proposal in the policy document except by inference on page 7 where “administrative” efficiencies” is mentioned. (Administrative efficiency was the rational for this change to permitted use.) Conversely on page 12 under item 6, the term “domestic licensees” is used.

    Could you please clarify the policy recommendation on the retention of or abandonment of domestic use licenses?

    • LWSEditor

      Thanks for your question Nelle. We’ll go into more detail in dedicated posts in weeks ahead, but we’re looking to retain domestic licensing in the proposed Water Sustainability Act.

  • Nelle Maxey, water license holder

    Could you please explain the process of your postings on the WSA policy paper. For example, will you be notifying the 900 and some participants of the last round of public consultation when you post details of the WSA policy paper here on the blog or are interested parties to check every category every day to see what information has been released?

    Since the policy paper is such a “thin” document, with a new vocabulary, it is impossible to comment until more details are known. Therefore, will you be establishing a period for reflection and writing our responses once all the details are released on the blog?

    Also I note the Water Science Strategy (WWS) report has not been posted yet, though the website says it was to posted in December. Is there an email contact for WSS to find out when that report will be released?

    • LWSEditor

      We’ll be posting more details shortly. In the meantime, we have notified over 1500 contacts by email including all those individuals and organizations who made written submissions last year, registered for workshops, and/or asked to be added to our contact list. We have also circulated the proposal to all local governments as well as First Nations organizations across BC. We’d like to reach as many as possible and are hoping that you and others will spread the word!

      One of the advantages of the Blog platform is that it makes staying informed easier, especially as we build an, on-going, 2-way conversation about the proposed Water Sustainability Act. One of the easiest ways to stay informed is through the use of RSS feeds. Subscribing to RSS feeds for both Blog posts and Blog comments will notify you when new posts or comments are up. Here are some step-by step instructions on how to subscribe to the blog using Outlook, Thunderbird, or Google Reader.

      We’re also taking a different approach to this round of engagement than the first round. We want to make sure we’re all on the same page, so we can chart the way forward together. So, although emails and letters are welcome, we encourage participants to share their comments and questions about the proposed Water Sustainability Act directly on the blog to help keep the dialogue going.

      We’ll have an announcement about the Water Science Strategy soon.

      • Nelle Maxey, water license holder

        Thanks for your reply, but my main question didn’t get answered. On January 4th I asked:
        “Since the policy paper is such a “thin” document, with a new vocabulary, it is impossible to comment until more details are known. Therefore, will you be establishing a period for reflection and writing our responses once all the details are released on the blog?”

        Considering that it is now January 17 (only 10 working days left until the end of January!) and still NO details on the policy proposal have been released on the blog, will you please inform participants when the deadline for comments ends?

  • David Slade, Drillwell

    While I am pleased to hear that the WAM process will continue in 2011, I am distressed by the tearing apart of the Provincial Ground Water Protection structure in the recent cabinet shuffle. The Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights and the Ground Water registry and Data people are now in a seperate ministry from the Regional Water Managers and the Ground Water Protection Officers. This seems to throw another obstacle in the way of water resource management, enforcement and accountability. This seems to be just the opposite of the stated goals of the WAM, or Water Sustainability Act process. Why the 2 steps backward at this point?

  • David Slade, Drillwell

    Happy 2011 to all

  • Deborah Jones -- Cougar Creek Streamkeepers (North Delta/Surrey BC)

    I don’t see any direct mention in the Policy Proposal of the pressing need to reform our approach to stormwater management. Present standards and practices (drain it, pipe it away, send it downstream and out to the ocean as quickly as possible) absolutely guarantee that we waste and pollute enormous quantities of rainfall and snowmelt — which are ultimately the source of all fresh water.

    Stormwater is being treated as a nuisance, not as the precious resource that it is.

    In developed areas — which means, in an increasingly large part of BC — stormwater (mis)management is a major contributor to groundwater depletion, low summer flows in streams, and poor water quality.

    I’d therefore like to see the Policy Proposal lay out EXPLICITLY the policy of maximum stormwater infiltration (or retention) for all public and private development. Whether we’re building a highway or a house, a museum or a mall, the runoff should be filtered and conserved, not piped away. Only a province-wide policy can accomplish this major change in attitude and practice.

  • West Coast Environmental Law

    We’ll be preparing more detailed comments on the Water Sustainability Act. However, here are our thoughts on the proposed Act.

  • Nelle Maxey, water license holder

    Where can I find the “Cost Benefit and Impact Analysis” document on which the WSA Policy Proposal was based? If this is not public, please consider this comment as an FOI request for public access to this document.

    The maps in Appendix A&B are far to small and generic for the public to understand which areas they live in. Can you please provide more detailed maps that show river systems and towns at a minimum. This is important to people as some areas will have “additional measures” applied to them.

    • LWSEditor

      Good questions Nelle,

      The cost-benefit and impact analysis indicated in the summary diagram on page 4 of the Policy Proposal is part of an ongoing process rather than a specific document. Gathering British Columbians’ questions and comments on the Policy Proposal is part of that process. To date, coarse screening of alternatives has been conducted to help guide the development of this policy proposal.

      We’ll be completing further analysis as the policy proposal is refined to reflect the input received in this engagement. We want to make sure that we’ve considered the impacts before proceeding – which is part of the reason we’re asking for your comments and questions now. Over the coming weeks we’ll share more on our analysis via the Blog.

      Regarding Appendix A&B, the maps are conceptual only and intended to illustrate the general location of the different areas described in the text. We’ve included the maps to help describe how the overall WSA framework would work. Criteria and thresholds would guide identification of specific areas and are currently under development.

      We’ll be providing more background on the WSA framework in early January 2011.

  • Lindsay Dianne of The Urban Momtographer

    As a lifelong British Columbia resident, I consider us to be keepers of the resources. We may not see firsthand how pollution affects drinking water right now, but we have a duty to the rest of the world to keep the beautiful natural resources that we have here in this province safe. I am so glad to see moves being made to do this.