CREATING A WATERSHED PLAN
Over the next 3 years we will be developing a whole of Watershed plan with a final draft ready by 2026.
The plan will reflect Cowichan Tribes’ vision for the Watershed, as well as and provide a template for sustainable water use to support both human needs and ecosystem values here, while acknowledging the changes to status quo that will be necessary, both here and worldwide to adapt to climate change. Read the full Vision and Priorities of Cowichan Tribes and the Province of BC for the Watershed here in the Government-to Government Agreement.
Ist' hwialasmut tu Xwulqw'selu Sta'lo' – We are taking care of the Koksilah River
Under the May 2023 Government-to-Government (G2G) Agreement, each Government partner (Cowichan Tribes and BC) is recognized as an equal authority with distinct laws and responsibilities. S-xats-thut (May 2023, G2G Agreement) is a commitment between Cowichan Tribes and the Province of BC to each other, to their communities, to the Xwulqw’selu (Koksilah) watershed and to all of the living beings who call it home. It is an agreement to plan, decide, and share responsibility and accountability for the future of the watershed. S-xats-thut is a historic and powerful step towards reconciliation.
The Planning Phase will conclude with the submission of a recommended Plan for the Whole of the Watershed, including a Water Sustainability Plan (WSP), a novel legal tool introduced under the Water Sustainability Act [link]. In other words, the WSP is nested within the overarching plan for the Watershed. Implementation of the WSP and broader watershed plan will be ongoing.
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Cowichan Tribes’ snuw’uy'ulh (teachings) and syuw’entst (proper ways of being) guide they’tal’ (relationship-building) between Cowichan Tribes and the Province of BC, and the Watershed planning process. Language lessons and cultural teachings for the BC Government team were an important element of the Scoping process to determine whether a collaborative legal process was possible. It was necessary to build trust and understanding between the governments as a first step towards integrating Indigenous ways of knowing and managing watersheds within a provincial planning framework. The Watershed Plan process offers everyone involved opportunities to learn – through reflection, discussion, practice, and seeking guidance – about how snuw’uy’ulh and syuw’entst can be applied for the benefit of all.