3. Watersheds and Water

Potential Adaptation Strategies and Actions for Watersheds and Water


Potential Actions 

Doing Already 

3.1 Create a climate resilient watershed management plan

Work with regional stakeholders (including landowners and other levels of government) to identify watershed-level management opportunities

Develop guidelines for development in the headwaters of the tributaries and rivers in the region

Ensure generous buffer zones and limited development in proximity to streams and rivers, particularly those which may feed community reservoirs or aquifers or traverse populated areas

Encourage and support forest management practices that maximize and protect water supply

Repair and replant fire-, pest- and/or weather-damaged areas with suitable vegetation

Establish a community forest to manage Crown land near municipal boundaries

3.2 Reduce the potential for wildfire in community watersheds and plan appropriate watershed wildfire responses

Implement a wildfire fuel reduction program in community watersheds

Obtain standing permission from the local and provincial governments for wildfire response in the municipality’s watersheds

 Identify alternative drinking water sources in case of wildfire in a community watershed

3.3 Increase water quality monitoring

Monitor water intakes for critical water temperature thresholds

Provide advice and support to enable water users and both publicly and privately owned water systems to monitor water quality at intake

3.4 Adjust water system maintenance schedules and equipment to reflect potential climate change- related water quality issues

Implement uni-directional flushing to increase the velocity of flushing in water distribution systems to dispel biofilm build-up

Consider finer types of water filters at water intakes

3.5 Educate water users regarding future potential water shortages associated with climate change

Ensure residents, water users, water licence holders and small water system operators are informed regarding potential future water shortages associated with climate change

3.6 Reduce water demand


Become a WaterSmart community and commit to reducing gross community water consumption by 20 per cent by 2015.

Adjust municipal building bylaws, regulations and standards to require low-flow plumbing fixtures for all new buildings

Establish water education programs to encourage water users to reduce water use through practices and technologies such as low flow toilets, rainwater collection, irrigation timing, topsoil build-up, low flow irrigation, and xeriscaping

Establish incentives to encourage demand reduction, such as differential water pricing based on use or fixture replacement incentives

Require water meters for all residential and commercial water users

Reduce water use in municipal buildings and landscaping

Implement municipal leak detection and repair programs

3.7 Explore and promote the use of alternative water sources for non-potable uses

Promote the use of rain barrels or cisterns for outdoor water collection and storage

Support change in provincial legislation and regulations to allow grey water collection for outdoor use and for some household use

3.8 Analyze community water supply volumes

Establish water flow monitoring on creeks that provide community water supply

Map and monitor community aquifers to understand characteristics

3.9 Increase municipal water storage capacity

Investigate options for increasing storage capacity of the municipal reservoir

Consider building new municipal reservoirs

3.10 Prepare for drought

Have a water use restriction policy in place for years of drought

 Prepare a drought action plan

3.11 Reduce the potential for water supply interruptions due to electricity failures during flooding or wildfires

Ensure the availability of back-up power for key water supply components: e.g. pumps

Ensure reliability of water delivery systems through appropriate electricity supply maintenance and upgrades for electric water pumps

3.12 Increase inspection and maintenance of municipal water source intakes and pump and pressure reduction stations

Review and update inspection and maintenance to reduce water system damage from freeze/thaw cycles and potential increases in sedimentation.


Useful Material

Columbia Basin Watershed NetworK (CBWN) - The CBWN supports individuals and local water stewardship groups with an interest in conserving and monitoring rivers and lakes throughout the Columbia Basin. The Watershed Network is a great way to learn about the successes and challenges of other watershed groups and to share experiences.