Water is fundamental to so many aspects of our lives: to agriculture, energy production, transportation, freshwater fisheries, recreation and industrial processes, not to mention drinking and personal use.
The forecasted impacts of climate change on water supply vary across the province from extreme rainfall events to extended periods of drought. Each end of the spectrum presents different challenges for communities from storm and wastewater management to water contamination, turbidity and salinization of groundwater in coastal areas.
Climate-related risks to drinking water are many and are often exacerbated by poor management decisions. Forestry management and water quality are also inextricably linked. As the timber supply has become more constrained, logging has moved closer to communities and into community drinking watersheds, causing painful divisions in the community and threats to drinking water.
There are a number of steps we can take, starting today, to protect our water. First, we need to conduct comprehensive watershed management planning in collaboration with communities and First Nations.
We need to include watersheds as part of a landscape-level ecosystem-based management approach to development. We also need to implement tools that we already have at our disposal but haven’t used—like the Water Sustainability Act, which provides a potentially powerful way to secure the environmental flows needed to sustain healthy and functioning rivers, lakes and watersheds.
We need to create a dedicated Watershed Security Fund that will create sustainable jobs in communities across BC in watershed restoration, monitoring, technology, training, and education.
And most fundamentally, we must recognize that access to clean water is a human right and ensure BC communities have long-term, reliable, and equitable access to clean water.
If we start taking these steps and prioritizing community resilience, we can make ourselves resilient to the inevitable changes we will experience in coming years, while also creating jobs and opportunities for British Columbians.
The BC Greens' plan for Water
Include watersheds as part of a landscape-level ecosystem-based management approach to development.
Fracking is a chemical-intensive process that has been shown to contaminate freshwater, trigger earthquakes, leak methane, and poses an unacceptable risk to human health. We are calling for a moratorium on fracking.