From funding announcements to summer fish kills, 2023 had a lot of highs and lows for B.C.’s watersheds.
We experienced a record drought and wildfire season, and had to speak out about the provincial government’s bungled drought response, but we also celebrated some big steps forward, including the newly-established $100-million Watershed Security Fund.
We aren’t out of the woods, either. As of November 30, the Peace region of B.C. was still at level 5/5 drought and just over 100 fires were still burning in the province with over 2,800,000 hectares already burned. Add El Niño to the equation and another spring heatwave like we had last May, and the chances of another year of record drought inches a bit closer to becoming reality.
While we recognize there is a lot of uncertainty about how things will shake out in 2024, when it comes to something as vital to life as freshwater, the province cannot be caught flat-footed like it was this year. Drought response planning needs to be happening now to reduce the potential impacts on our communities, local food security, and fish and wildlife in the coming months. In addition to proactive planning, we need actions – with the funds to support them – that will improve watershed security not just for 2024 but for generations to come.
That’s where you come in.
What does watershed security mean to you?
The health of B.C.’s ecosystems, communities and economies is dependent on watersheds that can provide a consistent abundance of clean, fresh water.
Unfortunately, decades of poor practices, habitat destruction, mismanagement and global warming are disrupting our watersheds. We’ve gotten into a cycle of drought, wildfires and floods that comes at a high cost to our health and well-being.
Government needs to treat watershed security as if our lives depend on it — because they do. That means keeping more forest cover on the land to buffer the flood and drought cycles and keep our streams cool. Communities and First Nations need more local control over the things that impact their water sources. Our government needs to massively improve their planning for flood and drought response, and crack down on water wasters, poachers and polluters.
Right now, the B.C. government is mapping out its priorities, including the budget for the 2024 fiscal year. To ensure government recognizes the urgency and importance of watershed security, CodeBlue BC has launched a new letter writer to let you send a quick message to your MLA, the premier and the water minister in defence of B.C.’s watersheds.
Since launching CodeBlue BC with allies in 2020, we’ve built up a community of over 32,000 supporters and we’ve seen major progress in our efforts to advance watershed security. This is in large part because when we ask for the CodeBlue community to speak up for B.C.’s watersheds, you do.
This holiday season, please add your voice to help make watershed security a priority for the B.C. government in 2024.