On Jan. 22, the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria released a report on British Columbia’s freshwater management and policies. “A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia” proposes that water management decisions align with watershed boundaries rather than political lines. According to POLIS, this is the best way to achieve positive, long-term ecological, social and economic outcomes in British Columbia.

The report comes at a critical time as the province prepares to replace its Water Act with new legislation in the 2014 spring session. The blueprint addresses the complex details of who makes decisions, and how decision makers can be held accountable for the benefit of British Columbia’s freshwater. It sets out a 10-year program and proposes nine conditions that recognize the province’s unique institutional, legal, cultural and geographic challenges.

“The transformation in governance proposed in our blueprint will likely take a decade, at a minimum, but with these changes B.C. could have the potential to become a national, and even global, leader in freshwater protection and sustainability,” says co-author Oliver M. Brandes, co-director of POLIS.