B.C. residents value their water, concerned about sustainability

A poll commissioned by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Vancouver Foundation is proof One Cowichan’s work is on the right track, the citizen’s group says.

"The attitudes expressed in this poll echo what we have been saying at One Cowichan since our inception 18 months ago," confirmed spokesman Parker Jefferson. The poll questioning British Columbians about their attitudes regarding the importance of water shows that more than 90 per cent say its B.C.’s most precious resource – but just 38 per cent of respondents believe current water use in their region is sustainable.

What’s more, three in four British Columbians believe that if nothing is done to improve the management of water resources, it will become a serious problem in the next 10 years.

That’s what the folks at One Cowichan have been saying all along as they fight for greater control of local water systems.

Jefferson noted an "encouraging" poll result that notes that 87 per cent of respondents agreed that, subject to strict environmental standards, local communities should have the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to decisions affecting their fresh water.

"This is critical support for those of us who are fighting to protect our vital water resources," Jefferson said. "Many in our community are working towards getting some form of local control for our watershed."

The provincial government is in the middle of water act reforms – the first changes to the Water Sustainability Act in the last century.

"A new Water Sustainability Act would be the first major reform in water law and policy for over one hundred years, so we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure B.C.’s water future," said Oliver Brandes of the POLIS Project at the University of Victoria, a co-lead in the design of the study. "Unlike so many issues that divide us, this study shows that fresh water unites British Columbians and an unusually broadbased public consensus supports taking strong action to protect our precious water resources."

Whatever happens, in the meantime, Jefferson said: "We at One Cowichan…will continue to fight for the future of our watershed. We must protect our water resources if we expect to have healthy communities now and into the future. It is wonderful news to hear that a cross section of the B.C. population agrees with these views."