Functioning ecosystems and societies all rely on water. Population growth, urban expansion, agriculture and natural resource extraction all contribute to increases in the demand for water in BC.
Some water sources have already experienced shortages or have licensing restrictions in place. At the same time, climate change is altering hydrology patterns in BC, with projections for a reduced snowpack, earlier spring melt, dry periods, decreased surface soil moisture and low summer flows in certain areas. As water supplies decrease, there can be negative impacts for ecosystems as well as community, agricultural and natural resource users. The phrase used by some Indigenous Peoples that Water is Life needs to be kept top of mind in all of our planning.
It is important to make sure that projects involving water aim to better manage a limited water supply, support ecosystems and reduce water use conflicts, as well as mitigate carbon emissions to ensure low carbon resilience.
For a case study, check out what the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council is doing through its Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy Action Plan 2.0 and the examples of agricultural water storage in this BC Farm Practices & Climate Change Adaptation Water Storage report.
The BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative has worked with communities and regions to delve into the risk of water shortages and support adaptation action.