Community Watersheds: From Objectives to Results on the Ground

Drinking water is of paramount concern to British Columbians. Government regulates the safe and reliable supply of drinking water primarily under the Drinking Water Protection Act. However, additional laws are in place to protect drinking water while carrying out activities like mining, forestry, range use and oil and gas development on Crown land. The law that regulates forest and range activities on Crown land is called the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).

This special investigation is about how well forestry and range use provides for the protection of drinking water as required under FRPA. The investigation focuses on how the requirements for drinking water are being met in a sample of 466 designated areas, referred to as community watersheds. These areas are designated because government decided the watersheds require special forest management for the protection of drinking water.

The findings of this investigation suggest that the designation of community watershed is inappropriate in some watersheds, and where it is warranted, the protection provided is inadequate.