Top 5 Water Challenges That will Define British Columbia's Future




Simms, Rosie
Brandes, Oliver M.

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POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria


Escalating water challenges in BC require a better understanding and coordinated work to avoid future crisis. Drawing on an extensive review of media, court and tribunal cases, and insights from attending over 100 recent events related to water issues, this report documents dozens of examples of why and where critical water issues exist in the province’s watersheds. It focuses on 5 key issues: (1) Building resilience to droughts & floods; (2) Sustaining water for nature; (3) Understanding the state of B.C.’s watersheds; (4) Protecting water quality for drinking, swimming & fishing and (5) Reconciling the water-energy nexus. The report also suggests possible solutions to these five water challenges to create water security and sustainability over the coming years.


Thank you to the Canadian Freshwater Alliance for co-creating the framework for this report, reviewing multiple drafts, and assisting with communications. Many thanks to Ellen Reynolds and Megan Spencer for copyediting assistance. Arifin Graham (Alaris Design) provided his creative expertise in design and layout on the report. This document integrates the feedback from peer and practitioner reviewers, and we thank all who contributed to this work with their thoughtful comments and insights. Further, we acknowledge that their review does not necessarily represent full endorsement of its contents or conclusions.


Water Law and Policy, Water challenges in BC, Resilience, sustainability, Monitoring


Simms, R., & Brandes, O.M. (2016, September). Top 5 Water Challenges that will Define British Columbia’s Future. Victoria, British Columbia: POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria.