Statement on Watershed Protection and Cowichan Watershed Board

BC Legislature, Sonia Furstenau MLA, 02 Nov 2017

Today, I spoke in the house to recognize the Cowichan Watershed Board.

Cowichan has been identified by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance as a candidate for a watershed governance pilot project – in large part due to the work of the Cowichan Watershed Board and many others who are committed to a healthy future for our watersheds and our community.

Transcript

In BC, we have two-tiered water.

Victoria and Vancouver are in the top tier.  These two regions own their watersheds, and control what happens in them.

These two regions have proactively protected their watersheds, recognizing the direct correlation between intact forests and high quality water.

But in many other parts of BC, communities are struggling to protect their community watersheds, and ultimately their drinking water.

I hear from people all across the province who are concerned about activities that put their water at risk.  Clear cut logging.  Quarrying.  Mining.  Dumping.  Fracking.

And yet we all know the importance of clean, safe water – every community, every person, depends on water for survival.

And so, in the face of these challenges and recognizing the critical importance of water, communities have started to come together to work on long-term protection.

In the Cowichan Valley, we have the Cowichan Watershed Board.  The mandate of the Board is to “provide leadership for sustainable water management.”

The 14-member Cowichan Watershed Board is co-chaired by Chief Seymour of the Cowichan Tribes and Chair Lefebure of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

This is one step in the Cowichan Valley’s reconciliation journey – working together to advocate for the well-being of the Cowichan watershed.  At a recent dinner in Vancouver, I was approached by two women from Reconciliation Canada who told me that they see the Cowichan Watershed Board as a model initiative for bringing communities together.

Cowichan has been identified by the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance as a candidate for a watershed governance pilot project – in large part due to the work of the Cowichan Watershed Board and many others who are committed to a healthy future for our watersheds and our community.

I am grateful for the work of all of these dedicated people, and I have learned since moving to Cowichan that water brings us together and keeps us connected – and for this, I am truly grateful.

Source: soniafurstenaumla.ca

Source: Hansard