As a way of introduction, I would like to use this blog post as a way to say “Hi,” to tell you a little about myself, and to provide an outline of what I plan to do as a volunteer within the Salt Spring Island Water Protection Society (WPS).
I see my board position as an opportunity to have active involvement in two roles for the protection of water resources for the island. Both roles are very much in line with the purposes of the WPS as outlined in its constitution and draft strategic plan. I will build on the excellent WPS work done to date. An outline of the two WPS roles and my first thoughts on what I will develop further in these are as follows:
1. Role: Promote and increase the public awareness of water and water-related issues with the island’s community via educational media.
The media (WPS newsletter/website, Driftwood, SSI Exchange, and so on) will continue to be used to develop an increased water awareness in the island community and encourage a “community dialogue” around water resources issues (conservation, quality, availability, other challenges/options). As part of this awareness-raising effort and in cooperation with the board, members, and co-opted “specialists,” I plan to write (co-author, support others) a series of articles for the WPS with the following aims:
Raise general awareness about the island’s water resources (current perspectives, evolving models) via a series of “Did You Know” and “Topical Tips” articles covering:
- water resources available
- conservation measures
- water resource management tools and aids
- key island water management challenges and options to address these
Planned articles to address the above are summarized below, though I am very open to suggestions on what else is needed!
“Did You Know” — geosciences articles — “The Interconnectedness of Things.” A series of articles targeting the layman (not too technical), suggested headings:
- Part I, An Introduction to Our Island’s Water (re)sources - a layman summary of what we have
- Part II, Shallow Subsurface Water Resources — what are these and how do they work/behave
- Part III, Deep Subsurface Water Resources — what are these and how do they behave, and an introduction to fractures
- Part IV, TBD — but a review of the above considering the implications (shallow/deep connectivity, recharge, storage, the implications of Fractures only)
- Part V, TBD -- perhaps developing the technical somewhat and/or incorporating the ongoing SSIWPA-supported Golder work)
- Part VI, TBD — opening the conversation to look at other non-geoscience but science options (desalination, etc.)
Other possible headings under “Did You Know”:
- raise awareness on grants/tax relief for water management (e.g., riparian lands covenants, CRD refunds on relevant water catchment purchases, and so on)
- safe yields for surface water
- “why surface (and groundwater) catchment areas matter”
- understanding the risk of saline intrusion?
“Topical Tips” — articles in support of improved water conservation (catchment/quality) efforts. Some suggested topics/article titles as follows:
- water catchment options: roofs, shallow/low rate wells creeks, etc.
- improved water management options: check your toilets and overnight leaks, a brick, dishwasher vs sink, etc.
- water filtering/quality options: gutter catchers, Leaf Eaters, in ground diverters, etc.
- moving water to the right place: siphons, RAM pumps, etc.
- creating water habitats (wetlands, rainwater sumps, ponds): looking at “bigger picture” water and environment themes
“How do we compare?” — articles comparing Salt Spring Island to comparable (or more challenged) “water resource poor” areas of the world. Are there any learnings that we can consider to address island specific challenges?
Some of the above may appear in a planned “water” feature column in Driftwood (to be discussed/agreed). The above articles should be educational and, in some cases, thought provoking to start a dialogue on what is best both for the island community and for individuals.
2. Role: Engage in and promote scientific study
In support of some of the above, raise awareness initiatives (e.g, improved understanding of the island’s water resources), increase the level of water-oriented scientific study where volunteer resources and budgets can be identified. Possible science study efforts include:
Use of remote sensing in improved understanding of our island’s surface and subsurface water resources
- trailing the use of remote sensing imagery (drone, etc.) to improve our understanding of watersheds, catchment areas, and management of catchment areas
Further surface water “safe yield” analysis
- improve the effective management of the known surface resources
Surface water monitoring island-wide creek flow
- regular data collection creeks and seasonal flow
Island-wide water resource availability polygons, leveraging areally defined polygons, flagging areas of water resource uncertainty and areas of risks
- this initiative attempts to move from the present island-wide “precautionary” water management planning stance to an improved area dependent “managed water” planning stance
Research/use of “technology options/applications” to address island-specific water resource challenges
- review what options may be available to support water development/improved management on the island (from water provision to high risk areas to efficient household applications (from brick-in-cistern solutions to RAM pumps)
The above lists are clearly not exhaustive, and the board’s input and that of the island’s water community should be sought in further developing the above water protection scope of works.
I am very grateful for any input/steer (contact firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you for your support.
John A. Millson
BSc, PhD, FGS