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Community Water Forum: The Values and Ethics of Water

November 5, 2020 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Join us for our fourth annual Community Water Forum:


Water connects us all. Human use of water brings nature and people together in a highly-complex socio-ecological way.

Water ethics principals describe environmental safeguards that protect the integrity of water ecosystems and direct responsible interventions affecting these complex systems. Water ethics frameworks assert that water ecosystems have inherent rights and intrinsic value, over and above their resource value.

Hear from an insightful panel of experts whose areas of expertise include water research, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and the Columbia River Basin/Columbia River Treaty.


tmixw – that which gives us life – is the nsyilxcən word that most closely translates as “ecology.” tmixw includes everything that is alive: the land, water, insects, people, animals, plants and medicines.

“Water is life. Water is our relation. Water bonds us to our ancestry, our descendants and our land.”

Excerpt from the Syilx Nation Siwɬkʷ (Water) Declaration, July 31, 2014


Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020
Time: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm*
Location: Virtual (via Zoom)

*A post-event virtual gathering will be held from 5:00-5:30 pm. Registrants will receive a separate link to join the post-event conversation.

Registration closes November 2, 2020.



Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director, Okanagan Nation Alliance

Syilx cultural values and perspective on water, intergenerational perspectives    

Pauline Terbasket is a proud Syilx (Okanagan) woman and member of the Syilx Nation. Pauline has led her community and her Nation as an elected Band council member of her member Band and most recently as the Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

She has more than 25 years of experience working for a variety of First Nations organizations and government and has sat as a volunteer board member with numerous local and regional organizations and societies, including the BC Native Women’s Society, En’owkin Centre, UBC Okanagan, Aboriginal Peoples Family Accord and the Ki-low-Na Friendship Society.

Tessa Terbasket Natural Resources Research and Policy Coordinator, Okanagan Nation Alliance

Columbia River system and its transboundary connection to the Okanagan watershed

Tessa Terbasket is a talented Syilx woman who has been instrumental in empowering, challenging and encouraging Syilx youth to become more involved in water. She has an undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary studies at UBC Vancouver, concentrating in Indigenous Studies, Political Science and Environmental Science. Tessa works with the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) Natural Resources department coordinating research and policy work. Passionate about water, she has helped create two youth groups: the Syilx Youth Water Leaders and the Columbia Basin Transboundary Youth Network. She has received the Corporate Knights 2016 “Canadian top 30 under 30” recognition for sustainability.

Zoe Kirk, Special Projects Coordinator Public Works/Engineering, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS)

Water stewardship, collaborative projects with Indigenous groups, integrating ecosystem sustainability objectives

Zoe Kirk oversees special projects and internal programs and services for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS), including Water Conservation Stewardship, Residential Water Meter Leak Detection, and WildSafeBC. She works directly with other local governments, the ONA, residents, and NGO’s.

Dr. John Wagner, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UBCO

Ethics based decision making, ethical approach to the Columbia River Treaty

An environmental anthropologist, Dr. John Wagner focuses on the role of agriculture in water governance systems. He also conducts research in Papua New Guinea where he has undertaken long term research in Pacific Island customary property rights systems. John is a co-investigator of the Water Ways research project and collaborated on The Social Life of Water, a museum exhibition using art, audio, visual media and storytelling to explore the diverse meanings that water has held for the many communities, cultures and interest groups in the Okanagan Watershed.


Tom Soeldner

Stewardship and justice in modernizing the Columbia River Treaty

Tom Soeldner coordinates the Ethics & Treaty Project for the Center for Environmental Law & Policy and Sierra Club with support from the Columbia Institute for Water Policy. The project works with the Columbia River Treaty Round Table and Columbia Basin tribes and First Nations with natural resource rights and management authorities and responsibilities affected by the Columbia River Treaty. The project’s goal is to promote principles of stewardship and justice in modernizing the Columbia River Treaty, which governs water and dam management on the Columbia River.


About the Community Water Forum:

Creating opportunities for compelling conversation and sustainable solutions that protect and celebrate our shared connection to water.

The Community Water Forum is an annual event hosted by UBC Okanagan’s Office of the Vice-Principal Research, in partnership with the Okanagan Basin Water Board and Okanagan Nation Alliance.

The forum provides an opportunity for open, solution-oriented dialogue on topics of shared interest and concern in our community. The forum is supported by the Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF) BC Regional Innovation Chair in Water Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability (Dr. John Janmaat) and the Endowed Research Chairs in Watershed Management (Dr. David Scott and Dr. Adam Wei).


November 5, 2020
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Environment and Sustainability, Indigenous, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students