BC provincial government’s recent budget announced interim and long term funding for the Watershed Security Fund
For immediate release
March 3, 2022
Significant Gains for BC’s Watersheds
Local British Columbians applaud recent measures taken by the BC Government to give significant support to BC watersheds. In their budget for 2022, the government allocated $30 million to fund the ongoing work in many BC communities to protect watersheds, work begun during BC’s Healthy Watersheds Initiative of 2020. At least 400 jobs have been created in BC watersheds around the province, including on Vancouver Island, many led by Indigenous groups and nations. The provincial government has also committed to the establishment of a permanent Watershed Security Fund.
This commitment is part of larger preparedness and adaptation strategies, such as floodplain mapping and updated infrastructures, to help British Columbians meet the impacts of climate change, so graphically demonstrated by the fires and floods of 2021.
Sarah Chezick of the Arrowsmith GroundWater Alliance (AGWA), a group active in the Qualicum Beach/Parksville area of Vancouver Island, points out that “We depend on our watersheds not only for drinking water and wildlife habitat, but also for flood and fire mitigation.” David Todtman of AGWA adds, “A larger, permanent Watershed Security Fund could also provide significant employment opportunities for many young people and Indigenous communities.”
AGWA is part of the Watershed Security Coalition, a group of community water experts, farmers, Indigenous champions and local governments representing 44 organizations and 255,000 British Columbians. The Watershed Security Coalition has taken a leading role in calling for provincial investment in BC’s watersheds.
“I appreciate Arrowsmith GroundWater Alliance’s continued advocacy and collaboration—healthy watersheds are critical for ensuring long term well-being in our communities, especially in the face of climate change,” says Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “Our government is taking a proactive approach to climate preparedness and adaptation, and safeguarding watersheds is a key part of this work.”