$1 million for water monitoring in Canadian Columbia Basin

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Participants put new water monitoring skills to use during a 2019 Living Lakes Canada-led training course in the East Kootenay region of the Canadian Columbia Basin. LLC Photo


For Immediate Release

March 16, 2021

Melting glaciers, drier weather and diminished stream flows are signs that the global climate crisis is affecting fresh water resources in the Canadian Columbia River Basin. Coordinating the collection of important water data to build climate resilience throughout the region is a project of Living Lakes Canada that is now receiving support through the Healthy Watersheds Initiative, which is delivered by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Watersheds BC, with financial support from the Province of British Columbia as part of its $10-billion COVID-19 response.

The Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) allocated $1 million to Living Lakes Canada (LLC) for the development of a coordinated approach through collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the Canadian Columbia Basin — a transboundary watershed with international significance — to determine water monitoring priorities, and to train 25 people to conduct water monitoring and water-related restoration work.

“Living Lakes is pleased to continue our work on building a greener economy through the work of water monitoring and  stewardship in the Columbia Basin,” said LLC Executive Director Kat Hartwig. “It is necessary that we work to support local, provincial and First Nations governments in their quest to build water-related adaptation strategies in our communities. Water is the underpinning of local economies and is essential to the well-being of our communities and the healthy water-based ecosystems that we all depend on.”

Current and future water allocation decisions will need to be science-driven and data-informed while incorporating Traditional Knowledge. This project will help provide the training, skills and tools necessary to support adaptive and mitigative watershed management by decision makers as the region’s lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, groundwater and glaciers continue to be climate-impacted.

LLC will train people to professionally monitor and collect data for regional water data-deficit areas. To house all the water-related data (past, current and future) collected in the Canadian Columbia Basin, LLC has developed the Columbia Basin Water Hub, an open source database that officially launched this month. LLC is also facilitating the development of a Water Monitoring Framework based on a water-balance approach to help build a Priory Monitoring Matrix for the region’s 10 sub-watersheds.

“In navigating this era’s climate crisis and biodiversity crisis, it is essential to shift paradigms and collaborate with all hands on deck,” Hartwig said. “The HWI fund is a good start to allow us to do just that. It is also a great opportunity to create jobs by retraining young people from other sectors impacted by COVID-19. We are providing impactful, meaningful and empowering jobs while working in tandem to achieve government goals and outcomes.”

To learn more, visit www.livinglakescanada.ca.


More Information

The Healthy Watersheds Initiative is a $27-million program, supported by the Province of BC, to stimulate British Columbia’s economic recovery through investments in community-driven watershed conservation and restoration projects. Through this program, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, in partnership with Watersheds BC, is administering grants for more than 60 watershed security projects in communities across the province. Visit https://refbc.com/healthy-watersheds-initiative.

The Real Estate Foundation of BC is a philanthropic organization that works to advance sustainable land use and real estate practices in British Columbia. Since 1988, the REFBC has granted more than $90 million for research, education, and policy projects that strengthen BC communities and protect our land and water. Visit https://refbc.com.

Watersheds BC was launched in 2020 and works to strengthen watershed security by equipping and supporting water champions and decision makers with the knowledge, training, and networks to restore and secure their home watersheds. Visit https://www.watershedsbc.ca.

The Province of BC has invested $37 million (including $27 million through the Healthy Watersheds Initiative) for projects that support healthy watersheds, species, and ecosystems, and create new jobs in areas that are critical to help communities adapt to the effects of climate change. This funding is part of the Province’s $10-billion COVID-19 response to help people in hard-hit industries. Visit https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca.



Nicole Trigg

Communications Director







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