Lindsay Telfer wants people to stand up and take action to protect their water.
Telfer, national project director of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, said that with this summer shaping up to be one of the worst, or even the worst, year for droughts in B.C. and Vancouver Island, communities must come together and find solutions to the crisis.
“People need to adjust their activities that involve water and be more careful with the water they are using,” she said.
“Residents must stay knowledgeable on this issue and engage in conversations about water at all levels. The incidences of drought are becoming much more prevalent in the western part of the country than the east, largely the result of climate change, and the problem is not going away at any time soon.”
Telfer visited Vancouver Island last week and met with partners and groups involved with water issues, including the Cowichan Watershed Board and One Cowichan, to discuss local water strategies and plans.
She said it’s important that water boards and concerned community groups have the proper and relevant information to provide knowledge-based decision making in regards to local water issues.
Telfer said the water has to be kept in the rivers and the lakes, so the province needs to firmly establish legal limits on water that is taken from them.
“There is a framework in place for this in the Water Protection Act, but the legal thresholds have yet to be established,” she said.
“We have to start now or it will be too late. There should also be an independent water wealth fund established to help fund decisions that are made locally in regards to water management during drought conditions. One option for finding the money for this is from the water rental and licensing fees already in place for municipalities and industry. ”
Telfer said each individual also has a role to play in conserving water.
She said water is an integral part of our lives and community, so water stewardship groups need to be supported and, obviously, people should be careful with the water they use.
“I believe that we protect what we love, including the rivers and lakes in our communities, and we will rally around their protection,” Telfer said.
“That love will drive our actions to protect water.”