$30 Million for BC Watershed Security - Budget 2022

BC takes step toward a legacy of permanent funding for cleaner drinking water, stronger salmon runs, and healthier and more secure communities

As a steering committee member for the BC Watershed Security Coalition, the Canadian Freshwater Alliance welcomes the announcement of $30 million for projects that will strengthen BC’s watershed security.

This new funding is an important step towards the creation of a long-term BC Watershed Security Fund, a provincial government commitment that has broad support from Indigenous Nations, local governments, community organizations and businesses.

“We are happy to see that the provincial government is stepping up with investments, which are essential to the health and security of our communities across the province who have been dealing with multiple years of flooding, drought, heat domes and forest fires” said Danielle Paydli, BC Program Director at the Freshwater Alliance.

As stated by Coree Tull, Chair of the BC Watershed Security Coalition, ”A healthy watershed provides the first line of defence against the climate crisis. It slows flood waters, mitigates drought, supports food production, and allows fish and forests to thrive. Restoring our watersheds costs half as much as human built infrastructure but lasts much longer. This funding is a smart and cost effective investment in our natural defences that will create good local jobs and provide an important bridge to a long-term Watershed Security Fund.”

The provincial government can demonstrate its commitment to tangible action on Indigenous rights and reconciliation by working in partnership with BC First Nations to create a permanent BC Watershed Security Fund that provides dedicated funding for this work over the long-term, and strengthens community economic development

“Nurturing our relationships with water and watersheds is fundamental to the health and wellness of all living beings.” said Dr. Shannon Waters, a member of Stz’uminus First Nation and Medical Health Officer for the Cowichan Region, “Our rivers provide us with so many gifts, for drinking, salmon to eat, water to grow crops, and as respite from mental and physical stress.”

“Here in Cowichan, the Quw’utsun River touches the lives of everyone, and we need to reciprocate. By centering Indigenous values, knowledge and governance in collaborative decision-making, we are giving back and seeing progress in our efforts to heal and strengthen our relationships with our watershed, and all this provides.”

Work led by Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Watershed Board provides a model of Indigenous leadership and capacity in watershed management for the rest of the province. This work is bringing back salmon, strengthening community resilience to drought and flooding, and creating meaningful local jobs for community members.