Environment Minister Barry Penner is reminding British Columbians that the public consultation process for B.C.'s Water Act Modernization project is closing in two weeks, and is inviting the public to make submissions by April 30, 2010.
"I encourage all British Columbians to take this opportunity to get involved in B.C.'s Water Act Modernization project by sending in comments and ideas," said Penner. "We welcome an active exchange of ideas on this important topic, and that's why the B.C. government is using a blog for the first time to encourage public participation."
The existing Water Act was established in 1909 and is B.C.'s primary water management legislation. Recognizing that the social context giving rise to the Water Act was very different 100 years ago, the provincial government is responding to new challenges for managing our water by looking at ways to modernize the existing Water Act to make our water laws simpler to understand, communicate, administer and enforce.
Dialogue started last winter with the public, First Nations and stakeholders to receive ideas about how best to manage B.C.'s most important natural resource. Online participation has been available to the public since December 2009, through submissions regarding the Water Act Modernization project, as well as comments and queries through the Living Water Smart blog.
The ministry has also hosted nine regional workshops for stakeholders and First Nations throughout March and April in B.C. communities, and there are three remaining workshops.
"Throughout this process, we have been outlining opportunities for using, sustaining and managing water resources in a changing environment," said John Slater, Parliamentary Secretary for Water Supply and Allocation. "Open dialogue is encouraged to share information, discuss principles for a new Water Act and explore proposals for change."
To make a formal submission regarding the Water Act Modernization project, go to: www.livingwatersmart.ca/water-act/
To contribute to the Living Water Smart blog, go to http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart/
The Living Water Smart blog will continue to be an active forum for water dialogue, but comments received after April 30, 2010 will not be considered as formal input to the Water Act Modernization process.
Living Water Smart: B.C.'s Water Plan outlines the B.C. government's vision and plan to keep B.C.'s water healthy and secure for the future. The Water Act Modernization process delivers on a commitment in the Living Water Smart plan. The plan calls for a variety of measures, including regulatory change, education and incentives to ensure B.C.'s water resources are protected and sustainable.
For general information on Living Water Smart, go to www.livingwatersmart.ca