A new Watershed Security Fund Position Paper describes a genuine opportunity for the provincial government to create an enduring legacy for freshwater in B.C. The Paper was produced through collaboration between the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, First Nations Fisheries Council, BC Wildlife Federation, and BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative.
The Position Paper responds to a direct recommendation in the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services’ Budget 2020 Consultation Report (August 2019), which recommends that the Province
“Advance water sustainability in British Columbia by providing a dedicated, sustainable, annual funding source for First Nations, local government, local watershed protections agencies and community partnerships.”
Building on this recommendation, the Position Paper was developed to support policy makers and advance the public dialogue on this important opportunity. The paper outlines the urgent need for a dedicated Watershed Security Fund for British Columbia. It describes the rationale for such a fund, provides an overview of benefits and examples of the activities it would support, and outlines technical details on options for Fund structure, funding mechanisms, and governance.
A Watershed Security Fund would:
- Provide sustainable funding to equip communities to build resilience in the face of growing watershed threats, such as more extreme floods, droughts, and forest fires, and implications for clean drinking water, Indigenous rights, and wild salmon habitat.
- Support reconciliation with First Nations.
- Invest in partnerships with local governments, farmers, businesses, and community groups.
- Invest in smart planning and community capacity, reducing costs and creating jobs.
- Fulfill government’s commitments to climate adaptation, reconciliation, and rural economies.
- Create a powerful legacy for B.C. through a provincial endowment supplemented by other sustainable funding sources, such as a surcharge on water rental fees
“Healthy forests and wetland systems provide a host of watershed services, including water purification, ground water and surface flow regulation, erosion control, and stream bank stabilization, to the benefit of fish and wildlife, as well as to the benefit of local communities. A Watershed Security Fund will invest in partnerships and planning that safeguard these important watershed services in the face of climate change and cumulative impacts.” – Neil Fletcher, BC Wildlife Federation Wetlands Program Manager
Read the Position Paper Summary.