B.C. investment in watershed security offers hope
On Earth Day (April 22), Living Lakes Canada welcomed the Province of B.C.’s commitment of $30 million for projects that will strengthen B.C.’s watershed security. This is a timely announcement given the 2022 Earth Day theme is “Investing in our Planet.”
This new funding is an essential step towards the creation of a long-term B.C. Watershed Security Fund, a provincial government commitment that has broad support from Indigenous Nations, local governments, community organizations and businesses.
“We applaud the province for taking this important step and understanding the need to fund watershed security efforts to address climate impacts on water,” said Kat Hartwig, Executive Director of Living Lakes Canada. “We are hoping this will inspire the federal government to proceed more assertively with their Canada Water Agency vision. Vertical integration of federal and provincial support to communities working to secure the health of their local watersheds is ultimately necessary to secure water for our future.”
Living Lakes Canada is one of six recipient organizations whose watershed-scale projects will be supported by this funding. This list includes BC Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Redd Fish Restoration Society, Farmland Advantage (Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC) and the Rivershed Society of BC. Funding will also be provided to Watersheds BC through the MakeWay Foundation to coordinate watershed restoration projects led or co-led by First Nations across the province.
Funding awarded to Living Lakes Canada will help support the deployment of the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework and associated Columbia Basin Water Hub.
Both projects are based on the scientific rationale that a warmer future will fundamentally affect water availability. The implementation of a water monitoring network based on local priorities within a scientific framework will support communities and decision makers in understanding what water quantity there will be in the Columbia Basin, and how water might be allocated to support livelihoods and ecosystems. The Water Hub’s purpose is to house and share watershed monitoring data to support better planning and decision making within the Columbia Basin.
“It is imperative that we prioritize the climate and biodiversity crisis. The problems younger generations will contend with are too overwhelming to address without strategic collaboration now,” said Hartwig, a Columbia Valley resident. “The importance of provincial support for projects that have a long-term vision for the health of communities and ecosystems simply cannot be overstated.”
Living Lakes Canada is a Steering Committee member of the BC Watershed Security Coalition, which acts as a collective and non-partisan voice for watershed security in British Columbia. To learn more, visit https://watershedsecurity.ca/.
Lead image: The Province of B.C. is helping fund an innovative water monitoring project in the Columbia Basin that will help decision makers better understand how freshwater might be allocated to support livelihoods and ecosystems in a warmer future where water availability will be fundamentally affected. Pictured is Cartwright Lake, west of Brisco. e-KNOW file photos