Tuesday, October 2, 2012

“waterbucket.ca is renewed and improved,” announces Mike Tanner, Waterbucket Chair

 “waterbucket.ca is renewed and improved,” announces Mike Tanner, Waterbucket Chair
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is helping the Province implement the Living Water Smart and Green Communities initiatives in the local government setting. Launched in 2008, these initiatives comprise plans, strategies, targets, actions and tools to reduce the ‘WATER FOOTPRINT’ of communities. The tool for sharing the stories of those leading change is the waterbucket.ca website.

The Partnership has rebuilt the highly successful waterbucket.ca website. Why? To offer our visitors a better way to utilize our site and take advantage of the tools and information,” reports Mike Tanner, Waterbucket Chair.

“In conjunction with the rebuild, the Partnership is excited to announce the launch of our newest community-of-interest on waterbucket.ca, namely: Vancouver Island Water. This tells the story of the CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island demonstration initiative, from its inception in 2006. A quick glance at the menu reveals just how much has been accomplished over the years. Also, check out the companion Convening for Action in British Columbia, home to the Water Sustainability Action Plan. The site is transformed. Stories about initiatives are presented by region to make access to information easier.”

“The Partnership vision is that water sustainability, and hence adaptation to a changing climate, will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. Our mission is to help facilitate that change. To that end, we are benefitting from the hands-on involvement of a pool of experienced practitioners who volunteer and contribute their knowledge.”

“The rebuilt waterbucket.ca also incorporates the Partnership’s new blog. It is there where we will from now on post the weekly e-blasts that the Partnership distributes throughout British Columbia as well as beyond our borders.”

To Learn More about the “convening for action” initiative and the delivery role of the Partnership, click on Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia announces re-launch of waterbucket.ca website”.

E-Blast #2012-26
September 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A decade later, British Columbia’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook stands the test of time

In 2002, looking at rainfall differently initiated a paradigm-shift to protect stream health
Released in June 2002, StormwaterPlanning: A Guidebook for British Columbia was a catalyst for action to ‘design with nature’ to create liveable communities and protect stream health. Also, it set the stage for defining water sustainability as an outcome of green infrastructure policies and practices.

“The Guidebook is standing the test of time because the foundation material is science-based,” states Peter Law, Chair of the Guidebook Steering Committee (2000-2002). Formerly with the Ministry of Environment, Peter Law is a founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. “A decade ago, looking at rainfall differently led the Province to develop the Guidebook and initiate a paradigm-shift in the way rainwater is managed. The Guidebook formalized the Water Balance Methodology in order to establish performance targets. The Guidebook did not go on the shelf. Ten years later, we are still here, and we are still moving the initiative forward. We are providing tools and training to protect stream health.”

“A key goal is to improve the technical basis for local government decisions. Hence, the Partnership is working with local government planning and engineering staff to help them “use” the tools, rather than wait for “expert” reports. We strive to make these materials easy to use in answering some basic land use questions concerning how water influences the site and watershed.”

“At the core of the Guidebook is a ‘learn by doing’ philosophy. The Water Balance Methodology is dynamic; and it is being enhanced over time to incorporate fresh insights resulting from science-based understanding,” concludes Peter Law.

E-Blast #2012-25
June 26, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

‘Water Balance Model Express for Landowners’ previewed at workshop hosted by Regional District of Nanaimo

Six local governments will be initial demonstration applications
“An increasing building footprint on properties is short-circuiting the WATER BALANCE. This creates risks for local government, both financial and environmental. If we want to make change, then we have to find a way to influence landowners to look at their properties differently,” stated Richard Boase (District of North Vancouver) at a training workshop for local governments.

“HOW the members of the Water Balance Model Partnership plan on doing this is through the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners. As part of the approval process, this tool will allow a landowner to look at what is on the property now; and quantify the kind of footprint change they intend to make. Then they will be able to examine the water impacts associated with that change in footprint; and determine how they can make different decisions about how to manage that change.”

“Three watershed-specific performance targets that link rainfall to stream health are pre-set by local government. When the landowner clicks on a pop-up location map, much like for garbage collection schedules, it pre-sets the target values by zone. The Express guides the landowner through an iterative PASS/FAIL process to select and test options and choices.”

“Stream health depends on ALL properties in a watershed. If everyone reduces their ‘water footprint’, and if we ensure the integrity of groundwater flow, we can then protect stream health,” concluded Richard Boase.

TO LEARN MORE: Six Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island local governments will be the initial demonstration applications when the Express is rolled out later in 2012. To read the complete story about the preview presentation by Richard Boase, click here. He is Co-Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership.

Anyone can register as a Water Balance Model TRIAL USER. Just go to www.waterbalance.ca to set up an account.

E-Blast #2012-24
June 19, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sustainable Rainwater Management in British Columbia: Mimic the Water Balance and Protect Stream Health!

Metro Vancouver elected representatives learn about  inter-regional collaboration
Launched by an inter-governmental partnership in 2003, the web-based Water Balance Model for British Columbia quantifies the effectiveness of green infrastructure in accomplishing two inter-connected goals: reduce a community’s ‘water footprint’; and protect stream health. In January 2012, Metro Vancouver contributed $50,000 to fund further enhancement of the WBM.

“When Kim Stephens met with the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee to provide us with a progress report on the Water Balance Model and inter-regional collaboration, we were impressed that our $50,000 grant has leveraged $250,000 in cash and in-kind contributions,” states City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, Chair of the Committee. His municipality was a founding member of the Water Balance Model Partnership in 2002, and is a charter member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“The Committee learned that the Water Balance Model is a tool available to Metro Vancouver’s members so that they will be able to more effectively and efficiently fulfil their rainwater and stormwater management actions under our region’s IntegratedLiquid Waste and Resource Management Plan.”

“There is no formal mechanism to enable inter-regional collaboration. We also learned that the Partnership is trying to fill this gap by bringing together local governments around the Georgia Basin to advance a consistent approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure practices. Alignment should help everyone reduce risk, improve watershed health and comply with regulatory requirements. The Committee is looking forward to a further update this fall,” concludes Mayor Mussatto.

Metro Vancouver elected representatives learn about the Water Balance Model and Inter-Regional Collaboration

Water Balance Model Partnership leverages Metro Vancouver grant
The Water Balance Model for British Columbia is a scenario comparison tool. It can help local governments create a future watershed vision by informing their decisions about the impacts, or not, of their ‘water footprint’ on watershed health. The majority of Metro Vancouver municipalities are Water Balance Model Partners.

In September 2011, Kim Stephens (Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability) met with Metro Vancouver's Waste Management Committee and presented the vision for rebuilding the Water Balance Model on a Linux platform. Five weeks later in October 2011, the Metro Vancouver Board amended its 2012 Budget to incorporate a line item for the Water Balance Model.

“Metro Vancouver contributed $50,000 to fund further enhancement of the Water Balance Model because widespread use of this decision  tool will help Metro Vancouver and members fulfil our regulatory commitments, in particular those related to integrated rainwater management,” stated Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board, when he announced the grant.

In May 2012, Kim Stephens met with the successor Utilities Committee to describe how the Partnership has leveraged the $50,000 grant. He also introduced Metro Vancouver elected representatives to the benefits of an Inter-Regional Educational Initative for 'Rainwater Management in a Watershed Sustainability Context' that the Partnership has launched on Vancouver Island.

"The initiative creates opportunities for knowledge sharing and transfer on both sides of the Georgia Basin so that everyone can go farther, more efficiently and effectively," stated Kim Stephens. "The web-based Water Balance Model is a unique, scenario comparison tool; and is the foundation block for the Inter-Regional Education Initiative."

"Collaboration among Vancouver Island local governments, Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities has grown steadily since 2007. Looking ahead, the Partnership's ultimate objective is to formalize Metro Vancouver and member participation in the inter-regional initiative."

"The Inter-Regional Education Initiative can help fulfil specific Metro Vancouver actions in the Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan regarding performance standards, codes of practice, certification and guidelines for on-site rainwater management - that is, green infrastructure. Through collaboration, everyone can achieve more with the same resources," concluded Kim Stephens.

To download the briefing document that provided the basis for a delegation request, click on May 2012 Report to Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee.

To download the presentation slides that provided the backdrop for the conversation with the committee, click here.

To read the article about the September 2011 presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Vision for ‘Water Balance Model Express’ introduced to Elected Representatives in Metro Vancouver Region

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Do You Wonder How Lower Mainland Local Government Leaders are Implementing Green Infrastructure to Protect Watershed Health?

Reduce Risk & Comply with Regulatory Requirements
On June 19-20, the Capital Regional District is hosting a 2-day course that supports the region’s Integrated Watershed Management Implementation Strategy. The course comprises eight modules; and will guide participants through the stages and steps in developing a plan that is balanced, truly integrated and financially sustainable. Carrie Baron, City of Surrey Drainage and Environment Manager, is a member of the teaching team. To learn more, click here

The focus is on HOW to develop outcome-oriented Watershed Blueprints and introduce innovation and efficiency into Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs). The course is designed to help local governments reduce risk (financial and environmental), improve watershed health, and comply with regulatory requirements.

Achieve More at Less Cost
The City of Surrey has extensive experience with ISMP development and implementation. Now in its fifth decade of continuous implementation experience, the City continues to evolve and adapt a watershed–based approach that incorporates lessons learned in getting green infrastructure built right. “The 2-day course will benefit all those who are involved in land use planning, land development and municipal infrastructure. From my Lower Mainland perspective, the course is a great chance to collaborate with and learn from champions in Vancouver Island local governments,” states Carrie Baron, City of Surrey Drainage and Environment Manager. The course comprises eight modules. Carrie is providing content for four modules.

“We will provide examples that illustrate how sharing and learning from each other allows municipalities to achieve more with less; and we will demonstrate how to apply the right tools. Integration is the KEY MESSAGE – integration with the ecosystem, recreation, land use and community groups. Use effective green infrastructure, lighten the ‘water footprint’, and protect stream health.”

“Creating good plans come from integrating good concepts from a variety of sources into the needs of the watershed,” concludes Carrie Baron. 

TO LEARN MORE about the City's experience over the years, scroll down to read these stories: 

Getting Green Infrastructure Built Right in the City of Surrey: Moving Beyond Pilot Projects  

From Pilot Projects to a Watershed Objectives Approach in the City of Surrey

Getting Green Infrastructure Built Right in the City of Surrey: Moving Beyond Pilot Projects


City Hosted 2009 Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum
Hosted by the City of Surrey in March 2009, the program for the Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum was built around the HOW question as it pertains to green infrastructure:
  • HOW will the City of Surrey get it built right; 
  • HOW will a consistent regional approach be achieved in Metro Vancouver?
The City of Surrey has extensive experience with development and implementation of Master Drainage Plans (MDP) and Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMP). Now in its fifth decade of continuous implementation experience, the City continues to evolve and adapt a watershed–based approach that incorporates lessons learned in getting green infrastructure built right.

Shared Responsibility
The City of Surrey hosted the Water Balance Model Forum because we wanted to start a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers,” states Vincent Lalonde, the City’s General Manager, Engineering. “We approached the program design from a shared responsibility perspective; we explored how policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to ensure responsible outcomes.”

“We wanted the policy people to have an appreciation for what is involved in constructing green infrastructure; and we wanted the implementers to understand what the provincial, regional and local goals are....and what we are trying to achieve in Surrey through the use of policy, approved standards and legal tools."

“Once we know what we want our watersheds and neighbourhoods to look like, the next step is to decide what the tools are that will get us there. All of us ….whether we are regulators, developers or designers ….need to understand and care about the goal if we are to create the future that we all want,” concludes Vincent Lalonde.

The 2009 Forum was co-sponsored by the Water Balance Model Partnership and the Green Infrastructure Partnership, with a goal of moving beyond pilot projects to a watershed-based approach to achieving performance targets for rainwater management and green infrastructure.

The Forum Audience 
"The audience comprised a mix of Surrey staff from different departments, developers and designers who do work in Surrey, representatives from a large number of Metro Vancouver municipalities, and provincial regulators. At the end of the day, this learning event had achieved our stated objective of starting a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers," reports Kim Stephens, Forum team leader and now Executive Director for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
The Forum was a Success
"The Forum was a success," adds Remi DubĂ©, formerly Drainage Planning Manager and now Manager of Development Services with the City of Surrey, and the individual responsible for developing the morning program. "We have been getting some pretty good feedback from many of the people who attended the workshop (specifically developers and consultants).  It’s leading into more direct communication with certain developers who are looking at different approaches ... they seemed encouraged with the dialogue that the forum appeared to promote."

To Learn More: Leading up to the Forum, a series of preview stories were published on Water Bucket. They progressively described the elements of the Forum program in order to establish participant expectations. Briefly:
To download a consolidated copy of the entire set of six documents in the series, click on The Story of the 2009 Water Balance Model Forum (Hosted by the City of Surrey)