The RDCK recognizes the importance of protected water sources for drinking, habitat and recreation by providing effective management of its 19 water systems and being an advocate for safe, clean and abundant water.

Watershed Governance Initiative

Phase 3 is now underway with a focus on continued relationship building, on-going story mapping, refining the web map and investigating ways to support communities in the protection of their drinking water watersheds.

Building on the research of the Watershed Governance Initiative Scoping Study (2020), the experience of RDCK staff, subject experts and community members, the Watershed Governance Initiative team has compiled a list of possible action steps for communities seeking to protect their drinking water watersheds.

1. Identify a community lead and begin documenting everything
2. Establish monitoring of water quality and quantity to create a baseline of data and upload to the Water Data Hub
3. Review watershed data on WGI WebMap
4. Build relationships with community groups in the area, First Nations in the region, provincial and local elected officials and staff, Living Lakes Canada, and industry members
5.Request an investigation under the Drinking Water Protection Act (DWPA) - Section 29 of the DWPA provides a mechanism for someone to request that a Drinking Water Officer (DWO) investigate potential threats to their drinking water. The Act defines a threat as “a condition or thing or circumstance that may lead to a condition or thing that may result in drinking water provided by a domestic water system not being potable”
6. Work with RDCK staff to create a story map
7. Articulate community values through a planning exercise such as:
    a. Natural Asset Management Planning
    b. Nature Based Planning
    c. Cumulative Impact Study
8. Consider pursuing WaterObjectivesunderthe WaterSustainabilityAct (WSA) - From meetings with the Provincial staff, RDCK staff understand that WSA objectives are something to pursue once all other efforts have been considered. Even then, Water Objectives will require considerable effort on the part of the community and/or local government to establish. If established, they can be legally binding across many other sectors. Objectives are best set prior to activity in a watershed as they define future conduct, they cannot address existing or historical conflict. For more information, Polis has published a Water Objectives Innovation Brief.

The RDCK has completed Phase 2 of the Watershed Governance Initiative (WGI): Data Collation and Mapping and continued relationship building.

From May to August 2021, following months of planning and continued relationship building, the Watershed Governance Initiative team piloted the Data Collation and Mapping project to create a user-friendly map to access existing data related to watersheds. The 16 weeks of work included research, surveys, interviews, and numerous meetings with community groups and watershed stewards.

The WGI Data Collation and Mapping project has provided:

  1. Increased understanding of the great number and diversity of drinking water systems in the RDCK;
  2. Increased understanding of the pressures (governance, development, climate crisis, unknown and compounded, geo-hazard, industrial) facing watersheds;
  3. Increased relationships with those who are working to protect their watersheds and understanding of the challenges encountered;
  4. The creation of the Watershed Governance Initiative Web Map to collect and display existing data; and,
  5. The creation of the Watershed Governance Initiative Story Map to demonstrate how the web map data can be used by local community groups.


In 2020, following the guidance of the Regional Watershed Governance Initiative Report, the RDCK is initiated a multi-year initiative with the overall goal of creating the conditions for regional collaborative decision making to protect watersheds where drinking water sources are at risk. The RDCK wishes to acknowledge the funding support of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

In April 2021 at the Community Sustainability Living Advisory Committee (CSLAC) meeting, an update on the WGI was provided, see the presentation slides here.

Kootenay Lake Partnership

The Kootenay Lake Partnership  was formed in 2010 as a multi-agency initiative to support management approaches for a productive and healthy Kootenay Lake ecosystem.

Shoreline Guidance mapping projects

The Kootenay Lake Shoreline Guidance Document is a result of a comprehensive Sensitive Habitat Inventory Mapping project that involved an inventory and assessment of ecological, archaeological and Ktunaxa cultural values along the shoreline of Kootenay Lake. The resulting Shoreline Guidance Document directs shoreline development such as docks, retaining walls, or dredging activities in an effort to protect high value shoreline habitats.

Slocan Lake

The Slocan Lake Guidance Document was initiated in 2011 and completed in 2014. Read more.

Brilliant Heads

The Brilliant Headpond Stewardship Collaborative aims to bring together residents of the Brilliant Headpond area communities, government, First Nations and industry in a collaborative effort to build a stewardship plan. Read more.

The content on this page was last updated August 18 2022 at 2:33 PM