World Water Day 2022: A Look at the BC Watershed Security Fund Working Group

On World Water Day, we wanted to highlight a project working towards protecting water across Turtle Island.

The BC government has published their Strategic Directions Paper, which is the result of their Sustainable Funding Working Group. This group, comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous experts in watershed management, as well as local governments and health authorities; came together for multiple workshops from July to October 2021. The goals of the working group were to enable a space for creative thinking and dialogue outside of the BC government’s formal processes, and to foster a broader community discussion to support the development of a fund that meets the needs of the watersheds and the communities that depend on them.

The Working Group identified multiple governance models for the Fund, where recognition of Indigenous rights and authority was a prerequisite, and the importance of using Indigenous governing principles was highlighted. This Working Group was particularly timely as BC endured a historic heat dome, severe drought and devastating forest fires during the five months the group was actively meeting. From June to September, approximately 8,700km2 burned, and was followed by a 1-in-500 year flood in November 2021.

The report concludes with the Working Group’s ten proposed strategic directions. The provincial government began the engagement process to receive public feedback on the Working Group’s paper in January 2022, will develop strategy options based on feedback in the summer; will have a second round of public engagement on the Draft Watershed Security Strategy and with a planned launch of the Watershed Security Strategy and Fund in spring 2023. More information on the project can be found via the provincial government’s website.