Connected by Water is a CVRD program that was developed in response to the community education and engagement recommendations in the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan. The goal of this program is to build capacity, community and connection to support watershed protection and water conservation efforts. Working with community stakeholders and knowledge holders, the Connected by Water team has developed curriculum resources, workshops, tours, presentations and a framework for discussion and learning that responds to the questions:

“What makes a climate resilient watershed?” 

“What makes it possible for me to have safe water to drink?”

 

Connected by Water K - 12 Curriculum Resources

Resources for Recreation Leaders

What is Climate Resilience?

Climate resilience is the ability of a system to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change. In the Comox Lake watershed, climate change is impacting winter precipitation and freezing levels (rain / snow dynamics), summer droughts, and the health of plants, animals and ecosystems. Building climate resilience is a top priority in the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan recommendations.

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Connection to Place

Protecting the source of our drinking water starts with understanding the history and current management context of the Comox Lake watershed. When we deepen our understanding of place, we build connections that help strengthen our desire to protect the water that sustains our community.

What can we do?

  • Learn about the past, present and future Indigenous land stewardship
  • Uncover the natural, logging, mining and recreation history
  • Find out more about land ownership and stewardship in the watershed

Clean Water

The quality of the water that goes into the taps is directly related to the quality of what comes out! The lifespan and maintenance costs of the new Comox Valley Water Treatment Facility are directly linked to the quality of the source water and health of the natural assets in our watershed. There are four things we don't want in our drinking water - pathogens, contaminants (pollution), nutrients and sediment.

What can we do?

  • Use available toilet facilities and backcountry hygiene practices
  • Boaters - do not fuel up, wash, or flush bilges in the lake
  • Prevent soap, sunscreen and shampoo from entering the water
  • Avoid contributing to erosion when climbing, hiking, biking or boating

Ecosystem Health

An ecosystem is a specific geographic area where plants, animals, weather and landscape work together to form a bubble of life. The Comox Lake watershed is made up of diverse riparian, terrestrial, aquatic ecosystems that span forests, wetlands, rivers, creeks and alpine areas. High quality drinking water is produced by healthy intact ecosystems that are resilient to change and stressors.

What can we do?

  • Protect natural areas within the watershed from trampling and erosion
  • Learn more about the ecosystems within the watershed
  • Understand how climate change is impacting local ecosystems

Functioning Forests and Creeks

Forests and creeks play a critical role in capturing, storing, filtering and releasing water. These functions are an ‘ecological service’ that nature provides free of charge. Increasing extreme weather events (droughts and atmospheric rivers)  means these functions are more important than ever. When we support our forest and creeks to function optimally, we build climate resilience in our watershed.

What can we do?

  • Keep motorized and non motorized vehicles out of creeks and forests and off beaches
  • Support and volunteer with local streamkeepers and stewardship organizations
  • Support land protection efforts in the Comox Lake watershed

Fire Protection

Wildfires are an integral part of a healthy ecosystem but fire can also have dramatic physical and chemical impacts on vegetation, soils, and drinking water. The effects on water source quality can be widespread and long lasting, taking years or even decades for ecosystems to regenerate. Increased demand for recreation access and climate change are both increasing the forest fire risk in our watershed

What can we do?

  • Camp only in official camping areas within the watershed
  • Light campfires only in designated areas and follow fire ban and restrictions
  • Avoid all off road motorized activity

Water Conservation

The Comox Lake watershed provides drinking water for our communities and also supports the health of local ecosystems, provides environmental fish flows for salmon in the Puntledge River, and fuels BC Hydro generation. Climate change is impacting the timing and availability of flows which impacts how lake levels are managed at different times of the year.

What can we do?

  • Engage in water conservation at the personal level
  • Stay informed about snow pack levels, weather events and water restrictions
  • Think globally, act locally  - respect local freshwater resources

In 2016 the CVRD published the Comox Lake Watershed Protection Plan. Its objective is to guide the management of the Comox Lake watershed for the long-term protection of drinking water at the highest possible quality.

Learn more about our Watershed Protection Plan