Our warming climate is already contributing to increasingly hotter summers, more extreme drought and low water levels in rivers and streams where salmon live.

Dry Cowichan

Cowichan, summer 2012. Photo credit: Parker Jefferson

Watershed Watch’s Water for Fish campaign centers around effective implementation of B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act (WSA). This new-and-improved water law was adopted in 2016. If properly implemented, the WSA has great potential to improve the management of our salmon watersheds. One way is to ensure there is enough water left in streams, by establishing minimum flows for all streams put at risk by water extraction. Other avenues include greater local control, including the potential for co-governance with affected First Nations. We believe that inclusive, community-based, watershed-scale planning is one of the only ways to make the hard decisions required of us today. In fact, for many stressed watersheds it is the only effective way to protect and revitalize our salmon while safeguarding important human water uses.

We and the salmon are waiting for these positive changes, and they are not happening quickly enough!

A proposed solution to B.C. Water Woes

With our allies in Our Water BC, we propose the establishment of a new Water Sustainability Fund. Because B.C. does not currently charge water users a fair rental rate, we can charge more for the use of our shared waters, providing us more funds to use for managing our waters.

The Water Sustainability Fund would be dedicated to supporting watershed management and stewardship efforts within stressed watersheds. It would support partnerships with First Nations, local governments and watershed-based organizations to carry out the necessary long term, strategic-level watershed planning and watershed management activities that will build and protect watershed health. We hope to see this proposal implemented in BC’s 2020 budget.

We want British Columbians to have a say in how their water is cared for, and we help citizens speak up for those – like salmon – who don’t have a voice. Water is B.C.’s most precious natural resource and it is worth defending.