Treat water as scarce resource and manage water better for fish and people, says Fisheries Council
The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (PFRCC)today released a report entitled âFreshwater for Fish and People: Moving Towards âLiving Water Smartââ that advocates for treating water as a scarce resource and promotesstronger water management practices to protect salmon ecosystems.
âAfter this long hot summer, the need to maintain adequate flows in streams for salmon is clearer than ever,â said Mark Angelo,Chair of the PFRCC (www.fish.bc.ca). âIt is imperative that the Province must update the âWater Actâ and take the steps required to protect water resources for salmon and their ecosystems. For too long, salmon needs have taken a back seat to the withdrawal of water from streams for other purposes such as agricultural and industrial use.â The report examines attempts in other jurisdictions, including Alberta, Washington State and Australia, to resolve water issues through better balance between instream and out-of-stream water use. âThis review made it clear that a legal basis such as a more balanced Water Act, is needed to ensure adequate flows are retained and that interested parties work together to improve water efficiency, which will in turn benefit fish,â added Angelo. The report is accompanied by a plain-language brochure that explains why a new approach toward water use and management is urgently needed. It also identifies a variety of tools than can effectively resolve conflicts between excessive water extraction and ecosystem needs. These includeeducation, conservation, financial incentives, water pricing and regulatory penalties. The Council recommends that they be used not independently, but rather as part of a comprehensive new package on water management, and in ways that increase the flexibility of decision makers to respond to local needs and local information. The report and brochure challenge government leaders to provide the right design and mix of tools to ensure the success of the Provinceâs 2008 Living Water Smart initiative so that Pacific wild salmon andother fish species will benefit, along with people. It also challenges all of us as British Columbians to act and understand that water is a scarce resource essential for the healthy future of salmon and people. A full copyof the Councilâs report âFreshwaterfor Fish and People: Moving Towards âLiving Water Smartââ authored by Marc Nelitz, Tanis Douglas and Murray Rutherford as well as the accompanying plain-language brochure can be downloaded at www.fish.bc.ca. The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (www.fish.bc.ca) wascreated in 1998 and is an independent advisory body whose mandate is to alertand inform the federal and provincial governments and the public on issues thatt hreaten Pacific salmon and their habitat.
Source: The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council
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