Province of BC Water Act Modernization
Prior to 2016, BC’s Water Act, established in 1909 and never fundamentally updated, was the principal piece of legislation governing the allocation of surface water in BC. Modern water legislation was needed to balance a changing water supply with a growing population and increasing development demands for water, and to ensure a sustainable supply of fresh, clean water that meets the province’s current and future needs. The new Water Sustainability Act came into force in 2016and is widely regarded as a model for modern water governance.
Compass was hired to provide decision support and facilitation services during the development of an updated Water Act. In this role, we facilitated a number of cross-ministry workshops as well as technical First Nation and stakeholder meetings. The project represents an interesting application of structured decision-making principles to provide strategic advice on legislative and policy instruments. It involved identifying, structuring and packaging possible combinations of instruments for inclusion in the Act and evaluating them against multiple objectives, which informed ministerial briefing notes. We also developed a generic water policy decision support tool to help estimate potential impacts of different policies on licensed water rights holders and ultimately inform future water authorizations.