FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Water Plan Needed for Vancouver Island
From Watershed Assessments to Cross-Jurisdictional Partnerships
CEDAR – “Increasing droughts will impact the Island’s economy and ecological systems,” says Laurie Gourlay. “The quality of life for Islanders requires all levels of government to get in front of this issue and take a serious look at how we can work together to secure a Vancouver Island water plan.”
The president of the Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society wants governments at all levels to develop a plan that will address water shortages and secure water supplies for a growing Island population.
“Similarities with the dirty-thirties are beginning to appear across the US south-west,” Gourlay notes. “We should have a plan in place to address all the many impacts that California residents are now facing – just in case.”
VICCS points to the drought that has been going on for years in California, along with suggestions that people are beginning to pack up and move away, to abandon farming and water-intensive development and business.
“Level three droughts could become the norm here as climate changes bring hotter, drier summers and leave less and less snow-pack over the winter months,” states Gourlay. “We need to look at new governance models that extend water plans, and protect water supplies and watersheds across local jurisdictional boundaries.”
The Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society points to the initiative advanced by the Town of Ladysmith, and picked up by the Union of BC Municipalities, as one model that deserves another look. The resolution calls on the Government of BC to monitor watersheds, to maintain a supply and good quality drinking water, as well as to assist communities in acquiring ownership of their watersheds.
“The ‘wet coast’ of Canada has been lucky until now, getting by with what falls from the sky to meet the needs of a relatively small Island population,” Gourlay notes. “What happens when more people move here, when water supplies decrease to the point where the salmon don’t have enough to swim upstream?”
The Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society contends that Islanders are just beginning to understand the importance and interplay of streams, aquifers and secure drinking water supplies.
“We believe the BC Water Modernization Act, that has yet to mandate how sustainability and long-term water management will be conducted, should consider Vancouver Island as a single region,” adds Gourlay. “We urge the provincial government to seriously consider establishing a planning regime that ensures a cooperative, cross-jurisdictional and watershed-based governance.”
“And we look forward to working in cooperation and partnership with all Islanders,” Gourlay adds.
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For more information :
Laurie Gourlay, President, VICCS