The Nanaimo River Watershed originates from the Island Range on central Vancouver Island, consisting of over a dozen major tributaries and four major lakes. From the headwaters to the estuary it encompasses 95,000 hectares with a main stem river channel of 56 kilometres. The Nanaimo River Watershed and its estuary (the Watershed) are part of the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw and the Stz’uminus First Nations.

The Nanaimo River Watershed supports many significant values, including:

Areas and features of historical and cultural significance to the Snuneymuxw and Stz’uminus First Nations
Aquatic habitat for several species of salmon, trout, other fish species and amphibians
Riparian, estuarine and terrestrial ecosystems
Drinking water for the City of Nanaimo, plus groundwater that feeds the aquifers of Cassidy, Cedar, and South Wellington
Water supply for industrial and agricultural uses
Forestry, agriculture, aggregate and other industries
Log storage in the estuary
Residential living and rural farming
Recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, picnicking, kayaking and rafting, summer swimming, and bird-watching
Educational and research opportunities.
Geographical Area

The geographical area of interest for the Roundtable is the Nanaimo River Watershed.
The Cumberlander seeks to empower citizens with information and resources pertinent to the major issues of our time.

Filled with a wide-ranging variety of grassroots news and views, The Cumberlander is a direct-edit interface open to the whole community. Freely post your own articles, photos, events, classifieds, letters to the editor, etc. from your own computer.
General Links
Water Organizations
The British Columbia (BC) Tap Water Alliance was formed in February 1997. Community and environmental organizations’ representatives from Greater Victoria, from the Sunshine Coast Regional District, from Greater Vancouver, and the Slocan Valley in southeast BC met to form the Alliance. These members, who were each actively monitoring the political processes and advocating the protection of their community water supply watersheds from resource use exploitation, decided that it was critical to establish a provincial alliance in order to initiate a process which would allow them and all other affected communities a voice to raise public consciousness and to implement change. Many concerned individuals and community groups throughout BC’s communities, towns and rural settlements were and are unable to bring about appropriate change to what many perceive as an otherwise almost hopeless situation. Such an alliance would open the door for British Columbians to bring their concerns forward and to cooperatively find a working remedy. In February 2001, during the provincial government's public review process regarding the proposed Drinking Water Protection Act, about 50 provincial organizations signed a petition in support of the BC Tap Water Alliance's position to legislate the full protection of these sources as Watershed Reserves.
The Blue Planet Project is a global initiative working with partners around the world to achieve the goal of water justice now.Water justice is based on the right to water and on the principles that water is a public trust and part of the global commons.
"We believe water is a sacred gift connecting all life. But it’s a gift under threat throughout the world, and so is free and equal access to it. This is where you come in! Last year, thousands of people across Canada educated themselves, the public, and their municipal governments. They called on all levels of government to keep water access public here and around the world, and to safeguard our watersheds here at home. Many people made personal changes to their use of household water or quit buying bottled water."

About us

Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest citizens’ organization, with members and chapters across the country. We work to protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians.

We develop creative campaigns to put some of the country’s most important issues into the spotlight. We work with a network of over 70 volunteer chapters to organize speaking tours, days of action, conferences and demonstrations. We also produce research reports, create popular materials, and work with individuals and organizations across the country and around the world. We do all of this to ensure that governments know the kind of Canada we want.

The Council does not accept money from corporations or governments, and is sustained entirely by the volunteer energy and financial assistance of its members.
Water and Sewer Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)

With aging water and sewer infrastructure, municipalities are seeking new ways to finance and manage system upgrades. While most Canadian municipalities continue to have high quality, publicly financed and operated water and sewer facilities and services, private corporations are stepping up their marketing of public-private partnerships or P3s.

“Communities throughout B.C. and across Canada are facing pressure to privatize their water systems. CUPE's Water Watch campaign raises awareness about the risks of privatizing water and encourages maintaining public water systems. This site will also link you to current research and organizations working to protect public water.”

A new report exposes 100 examples of flawed, failed or abandoned infrastructure projects using the controversial “public-private partnership” (P3) privatization model in Canada, Australia and the UK, undermining the overblown claims of P3 backers.
Initially, the idea of the Polaris Institute was conceived in 1996 following a decade of social movement building in opposition to two major free trade agreements that dramatically restructured the economy and society here in Canada. The pivotal lesson that emerged from this social movement experience was that transnational corporations had effectively secured control over the reins of public policy making in this country [and elsewhere] to the point where citizens were becoming politically disenfranchised. In effect, a form of corporate governance had been established which, in turn, meant that citizen movements had to develop new methods, strategies and tools in order to bring about democratic social change. What's more, it became evident that citizen movements in other countries were facing similar challenges. As a response, the Polaris Institute was launched in 1997.
The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance is a centre for transdisciplinary research that investigates and promotes sustainability. POLIS was established in 2000 by the Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Victoria and fills a unique niche on campus as a place where academic and policy research meets community action. As POLIS researchers, we work together with a diversity of people in different ways – urban and rural communities, First Nations, Aboriginal organizations, businesses, co-operatives, public officials and the non-profit sector -- to foster healthy and sustainable communities.

The POLIS mission is to cultivate ecological governance through innovative research, policy analysis and strategic advocacy, law reform, education and community action. Ecological governance offers alternatives to linear, extractive, and unsustainable systems – alternatives that are circular, reflective and self-sustaining in ways that reduce urban demands on distant and local ecosystems. For our communities to become sustainable, we must re-imagine and re-invent our systems of governance. At POLIS, we don’t see ecological governance as a choice, but as an imperative for the 21st century.
Public Services Int. Research Unit

PSIRU researches the privatisation and restructuring of public services around the world, with special focus on water, energy, waste management, and healthcare. It produces reports and maintains an extensive database on the multinational companies involved. This core database is financed by Public Services International (PSI), the global confederation of public service trade unions.
What we do: The Water Privatization Task Force (WPTF) educates and advocates to prevent corporate control of water and municipal water/sewer services and to minimize use of bottled water in order to protect ecosystems and community health and to promote democratic decision-making and environmental justice.
The vision of is to provide a resource-rich, highly interactive 'destination location' for timely and provocative information about water sustainability in British Columbia. was born at the fourth World Social Forum (Mumbai, January 2004). Inspired by seminars on alternatives to water privatisation and how to finance public water, groups from around the world committed to intensify their co-operation on these key issues. One of the decisions was to develop into a virtual resource centre and meeting place for exchanging experiences, debate and strategise.
The World Development Movement (WDM) tackles the root causes of world poverty. We campaign for fairer world trade, regulating multinationals and cancelling Third World debt.
Published Papers on Water
Dirty Water Dirty Aid: Report on the UK Government’s push to Privatize Water and Sanitation in Poor Countries.

PDF Document

100 Examples of flawed, failed and abandoned P3s.
Canadian and International Evidence.

PDF Document.

Value for Money - a report
on P3s by Stuart Murray CCPA

PDF Document

Gives excellent reasons for keeping water services in the public service sector.

PDF Document.

Water for All, Campaign to Keep Water as a Public Trust

PDF Document.

Karen Bakker, Associate Professor
Department of Geography, University of British Columbia on Water Governance.

Radio Interviews (MP3)
Janet Gray and Rodger Oakley Interview, November 2008.
It's podcast at at the following link.

MP3 Radio interview with Roger Oakley on CHLY.