The Government of Canada announced a $6.9 million Regional Adaptation Collaborative program for BC ("BC RAC") this week, aimed at addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on water in BC. The project entitled Preparing for Climate Change: Securing BC's Water Future builds on key risks and adaptation opportunities identified in the BC chapter of Natural Resources Canada's report: From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007.

The purpose of the BC RAC program is to assist government, First Nations, the private sector, communities and resource managers prepare for climate change through four initiatives: water allocation and use, forest and watershed management, flood protection and flood plain management and community planning. Over the next 3 years, the program will develop adaptation tools and support focused collaboration at the regional level, to facilitate regional adaptation planning and decision making. According to David Marshall, Executive Director of the Fraser Basin Council:

"We are all now faced with a dual challenge: first, to tackle climate change by moving to low-carbon economy and second, to minimize impacts that climate change is already having on watersheds. A collaborative approach is key to success, along with a frank acknowledgement that water is precious and can't be take for granted."

The program is one of several new actions undertaken by the Province to overhaul its water management laws and fulfill its committments for managing water resources and riparian areas under its Living Water Smart plan. See our previous blog on BC's Water Act modernization process.

BC RAC projects will be co-lead by the Fraser Basin Council and the BC Ministry of Environment with funding from NRCan and 18 regional partners.