With the province currently facing serious drought conditions, the issue of protecting our freshwater resources has never been more top-of-mind for British Columbians.
A safe supply of fresh water is vital to healthy communities, and one of BC’s most precious resources. As such, Freshwater Sustainability is one of the Foundation’s grantmaking priorities.
What is Freshwater Sustainability?
Essentially, it’s about making choices that protect fresh water now and in the future. The challenges of human settlement and climate change are putting pressure on this vital resource, impacting water quality and supply.
Why is it important?
In BC, we rely on groundwater, rainfall and snowmelt for our freshwater supply. Managing this is difficult due to outdated plans and tools, inadequate infrastructure and incomplete information about streams, lakes and aquifers.
Why is the Real Estate Foundation involved?
In 2013, we made a submission to the provincial government on the new Water Sustainability Act.
We have an interest in land use initiatives and innovative ideas that support a clean supply of fresh water. This includes land use planning and policy, watershed governance, mapping studies and applied research.
For example, we fund:
- Floodplain mapping;
- Water quality monitoring;
- Multi-stakeholder watershed planning;
- Research and education that encourages best practices in watershed management
- Community-based lake stewardship, citizen science, monitoring, restoration and wetland management.
In 2014, we awarded 13 grants totaling $919,688 in the area of freshwater sustainability. You can read about the projects here.
The Real Estate Foundation of BC is a philanthropic organization that helps advance sustainable land use in British Columbia. It provides grants to non-profit organizations working to improve BC communities and natural environments through responsible and informed land use, conservation and real estate practices. Its funding programs support research, education, and law and policy reform. Since 1988, the Foundation has approved more than $70 million in grants. Learn more at www.refbc.com.