Critical time for BC's new water law

BC’s new Water Sustainability Act will not successfully protect the
province’s freshwater resources unless the right regulations and
resources are in place to make the law fully functional, says an
analysis by the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project on Ecological

The report provides a timely analysis of the core regulations required
for the law, which was passed in May 2014, and which still requires
legislative detail before being implemented. The new law replaces the
106-year-old Water Act, providing an unprecedented opportunity to fully
modernize BC’s water laws.

Awash with Opportunity: Ensuring the Sustainability of British
Columbia’s New Water Law offers clear recommendations to develop the
necessary regulations based on leading international practices in five
key areas: groundwater, environmental flows, monitoring and reporting,
water objectives, and planning and governance.

"Mounting water concerns in the province underscore the urgent need to
reform water management and the supporting legal structures," says
report co-author Deborah Curran, Hakai Professor in Environmental Law
and Sustainability in UVic’s Faculty of Law.

BC’s fresh water is under pressure from an array of threats including
climate change, population growth, and escalating and competing demands
for water. Watersheds across the province are showing signs of stress
from unprecedented droughts to water quality degradation and conflicts
over water use.

If BC doesn’t change its approach to freshwater management in response
to these realities, the consequences may be significant, as demonstrated
by the recent water crises in California and Washington, and globally, says POLIS
 co-director Oliver M. Brandes, who authored the report with Curran and POLIS colleagues.
"A comprehensive water law regime that includes a fully implemented
Water Sustainability Act and a full suite of supporting regulations is a
necessary condition to ensure that future water challenges don’t become
debilitating water crises," says Brandes.

A copy of the report is available at