Press Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2015
CEDAR – “The present water situation is extremely dry, and our future ability to guarantee water unknown,” states a letter from the Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society (VICCS). “And recent reports suggest we could become California North if we don’t act soon.”
With Level 4 water restrictions just announced for Vancouver Island a local non-profit conservation organization is calling for the Province of BC to adapt measures from the successful regional Water Authorities model that has been in place in England and Wales since 1974.
“Our communities and regional economies are dependent on a secure water supply,” Gourlay states. “We need resources dedicated to assisting in regional water management and watershed protection.”
VICCS would like to see local governments in BC approach the provincial government in the upcoming summer sitting, to request that regional water authorities be fast-tracked in order to ensure that BC’s regional water needs are met.
“Unusual problems require that our leaders be open to every solution,” states VICCS letter to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities. “With extreme weather conditions and complex climate challenges ahead, Islanders and all BC regions need to get a handle on the basics. We need know what water supplies are available, how they’ll be distributed, and who’s in charge.”
Just as BC’s Health Authorities were established to improve the delivery of health care and to ensure regional cooperation and coordination, VICCS is suggesting the province needs to look at a BC model for regional Water Authorities – drawing upon such regional health experience, as well as that of England and Wales as they have secured water supplies and managed regional watershed needs.
“We are not in a desperate situation now, but the water issue is serious – and it’s still very early in the season,” says Laurie Gourlay, president of VICCS. “We need fresh new approaches, and plans in place, if we’re to ensure we meet the Island’s needs, as well as those of other regions in BC.”
VICCS would like to see a Regional Water Authority Working Group immediately established, mandated to propose recommendations for the conservation and sustainable use of surface and groundwater, across and between regions. The Working Group would also determine where new regional agreements are necessary, and if existing measures are sufficient to meet future demand.
“Different regions in BC will find different approaches work best for them,” says Gourlay. “We need to free their hands so they can take charge and resolve water issues for their communities.”
For more information:
Laurie Gourlay, President, VICCS