Saturday, December 31, 2011

Volume-Based Hydrology explained by Andy Reese

Examining the shift in focus from peak flows and pollution treatment to mimicking predevelopment volumes
Andy Reese, writing in the September 2009 issue of Stormwater magazine, states that "every 20 years or so, urban stormwater practitioners seem to stop and take stock of how we are doing". He explains that:
  • Sixty years ago, we figured that efficient drainage was the way to do things, using separate stormwater systems of pipes.
  • Forty years ago, we figured out that efficient drainage was causing flooding problems and switched to a detention design standard.
  • Twenty years ago, we found that detention ponds were failing for a number of reasons and switched to a more comprehensive master planning approach.
"We are now facing another sea change in thinking that is reaching 'pandemic' proportions," observes Andy Reese. "Recent discussion by stormwater opinion leaders is now pointing to a convergence on what we will call volume-based hydrology (VBH) and movement away from the peak-flow-based version."

"For various and often good reasons, there is a growing awareness of the need to handle stormwater and runoff with more focus on volume as a basis for design and decision making. It is making its way into America’s midsection and widely into the minds of regulators—federal, state, and local."

"The shift toward VBH is a good thing, and making the shift carefully and gracefully will help ensure its long-term effectiveness," concludes Andy Reese. His references include Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.

About the Author: Andrew (Andy) J. Reese has published over fifty articles and has co-authored (with Tom Debo) a best-selling 1400 page textbook on Municipal Stormwater Management. He has worked in all fifty states in a wide variety of assignments from highly technical modeling and criteria development to stakeholder group facilitation and stormwater utility implementation.

Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Handbook Series published by United States Environmental Protection Agency

"How to" manuals for municipal implementation
Written from the American perspective, the Municipal Handbook is a series of documents published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in 2008 - 2009 to help local officials implement green infrastructure in their communities. 

Handbook topics cover issues such as financing, operation and maintenance, incentives, designs, codes & ordinances, and a variety of other subjects. The handbook documents are intended to serve as "how to" manuals on these topics, written primarily from the standpoint of municipal implementation. 

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Handbook Series published by United States Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information about the way the USEPA is approaching integration of rainwater and stormwater management with infrastructure solutions, click on this link to the USEPA's Green Infrastructure Homepage.

Evolution of Sustainable Urban Drainage in Malmo, Sweden

Transition from Traditional to Sustainable is a Long Process
Published in the fall of 2008, the book Blue-green Fingerprints in the City of Malmö, Sweden by Peter Stahre describes Malmö's transition from a traditional urban drainage in buried pipes towards a sustainable urban drainage in open systems. The book describes 18 different sustainable urban drainage projects in Malmö. 

Today multi-functional regional eco-corridors are in focus. One reason for the increasing interest in this in Malmö is that this type of facility has a bigger drainage capacity than traditionally buried pipe systems and therefore can be one way of meeting the effects of a climate change.

"The concept of sustainable urban drainage was introduced in the city of Malmö already in the late 1980s. Over the two decades the new drainage concept has been applied in Malmö, the technique has gradually been developed and further refined. This applies both to the physical planning and to the preferences regarding the technical configuration," wrote the late Peter Stahre when his book was published.

"The intention with this book is to describe Malmö’s transition from a traditional urban drainage in buried pipes towards a sustainable urban drainage in open systems. The transition that took 5–10 years was not problem-free. Many barriers and obstacles had to be overcome on the way. Most of these were  of institutional nature. One important factor for a successful result was the trustful and prestige-less cooperation that gradually developed between the top management of the technical departments, especially between the managers of Malmö Water and the department of Parks and City environment."

"The idea to compile this book came up during discussions I had in 2006 with my friend Tom Liptan, Portland OR. We both share the experiences that the way towards a sustainable urban drainage is not always so easy and that it often takes unexpectedly long time."

TO LEARN MORE: To download a copy of Peter Stahre's book, click here. Peter Stahre was an internationally known expert and teacher in the field of "sustainable urban drainage". To read a tribute to Peter Stahre by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, click here

Friday, December 30, 2011

Stormwater Detention: Ten proven ways to cheat

What do you want the calculations to say?
"Have you ever felt that justifying your detention design to a reviewing agency was a game of numbers? Do you have ways of making that marginal design look like a winner? Most engineers do," wrote Glenn E. Brooks in the September 2007 issue of Stormwater magazine. He is the County Engineer with Albermarle County, Virginia.

"After all, hydrology is a science of guessing the future, and it has been shown time and again that the accuracy of these guesses can be very poor. Then, there is often doubt whether small site facilities actually provide a net benefit over a large regional watershed. These points, and others, provide more than enough leeway to be flexible with the numbers."

"More than ever, it should be evident that having a result in mind can be a significant bias in any calculation. The savvy engineer is not always facetious when asking, 'What do you want the calculation to say?' And the answer depends largely on whose side you represent: the developer’s, the regulator’s, the future owner’s, or the downstream neighbor’s," concludes Glenn E. Brooks.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story as published in Stormwater magazine, click on Stormwater Detention: Ten proven ways to cheat. Glenn E. Brooks has a website that provides software for civil engineering. They are offered as freeware. To access his site, click here

Acknowledgement: Before STORMWATER, The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals, there was no single publication written specifically for  the professional involved with surface water quality issues, protection, projects, and programs. 

VIDEO: "DOE drainage standards will not protect Puget Sound”, according to Tom Holz

Puget Sound is on a Track to Die Following the Next Wave of Development 
In March 2011, the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners requested a seminar by Tom Holz on “Why DOE drainage standards will not protect Puget Sound”. The seminar described how low impact development is the only path to protect the Sound. Formerly with the City of Olympia, Tom Holz is well-known in Washington State for his tireless efforts in leading change in the field of rainwater management and green infrastructure. 

According to Tom Holz, "The Department of Ecology apears to be on a path to continue using the same standard for development for the next five to eight years that has been used for the last decade. DOE calls it the 'flow-duration' standard. It more accurately should be described as the 0/100/100 standard.  That is, DOE will require '0%' forest set-aside, will allow '100%' hardened surfaces, and will allow '100%' runoff of precipitation falling on a site."  
"As almost everyone knows, healthy streams are found in watersheds that are 100% forested.  Stream channels begin to destabilize following the clearing of about one-third of its watershed.  Thus DOE will allow development that will result in exactly the opposite of a healthy watershed," concludes Tom Holz.

Zero Impact Design: In the late 1990s, Tom Holz coined the acronym ZID - that is, Zero Impact Designs - to describe an approach that sharply reduce the “effective impervious area” of new development with practices such as eco-roofs, roof gardens, rain barrels, alternative paving surfaces, soil amendments, bioretention, reforestation, and filter-swale systems.

TO LEARN MORE: The seminar is posted on YouTube. To view Tom Holz, click on the two links below:

The first link is about 52 minutes (fast forward to the 4.13 minute mark to get past the set up). The second link is closing and discussion with decision makers and public. "It's a bit dry so make a bowl of popcorn," recommends Tom Holz.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Slow It. Spread It. Sink It! - A Homeowner's and Landowner's Guide to Beneficial Stormwater Management

Rainwater is an Important Natural Resource
Published by the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program (north of San Francisco, California), this guidebook is intended to help landowners and homeowners make the most of the many potential benefits of innovative stormwater management. Once thought of as a nuisance, rainwater/stormwater is now universally recognized as one our most important natural resources and proper management (simple to complex) is more important than ever. To download a copy from the Southern Sonoma County website, click here.

Guidebook Content: The guide is packed full of information, including:
  • Understanding and evaluating rainwater/stormwater runoff around the home or property
  • How to protect  property and increase its value
  • "Do it yourself" techniques
  • A wide assortment of sample rainwater/stormwater Best Management Practices
  • Technical information and advice on rainwater harvesting and infiltration techniques
  • Guidance on designing and implementing large-scale projects
  • A broad sampling of local projects implemented in Sonoma County
  • Safety and maintenance requirements
  • An extensive resource guide to help readers quickly locate key information and get started
Traditional building and landscaping practices were designed to dispose of rainwater and stormwater as quickly as possible. This outdated paradigm typically results in significant damage to land, structures, and the surrounding environment. Slowing down, spreading and sinking stormwater can help protect  property and increase its value, provide a free source of water for irrigation, conserve drinking water, beautify your landscape, promote groundwater recharge and much more!

Questions about porous pavement answered by Bruce Ferguson, the man who wrote the book

Questions and Answers
In an article published in the September 2009 issue of Stormwater Magazine, Bruce Ferguson wrote that since 2005, he has saved 230 files of porous pavement questions conveyed in e-mails, telephone calls, and conference question-and-answer sessions. 

"This article summarizes the questions that I have received most commonly over the years. My answers to them are based on 12 years of research and experience in the field, including surveying research reports, interviews with national experts, and firsthand observations in the field."

"There is a huge amount of knowledge about porous pavements now, and it is continuing to grow rapidly. The questions reported here are what people most frequently say they need to know."

To read the online version of the article, click on Porous Pavements Q&A; and to download a copy, click here.

About Bruce Ferguson: He is the Franklin Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia. He is the author of the 2005 book Porous Pavements. He has specialized in urban environmental design for 25 years. Ferguson’s 1994 book Stormwater Infiltration is considered a landmark in the integration of urban development with natural watershed processes. His 1998 book Introduction to Stormwater is the most frequently referenced book in the field. 

In 2005 Ferguson completed the first comprehensive guide to porous pavements, which have been called “the holy grail of environmental site design” and “potentially the biggest development in urban watersheds since the invention of the automobile.” 

Ferguson’s eight years of research for the book included a firsthand survey of 280 installations of all kinds of porous pavements, in all parts of North America. Since publication of the book, he has been asked to speak and consult as often as twice a month in every region of North America, educating multidisciplinary practitioners and guiding the design and approval of new porous pavement installations.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brock Dolman fosters "watershed moments" for hundreds

Seminar Program Promotes Collective Action
Brock Dolman is a watershed poet and advocate, though he didn't set out to be either. After studying biology and environmental studies at University of California Santa Cruz, Dolman was working with endangered species when he experienced his "watershed moment."

Today, as the director of the WATER Institute at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center in Sonoma County, Dolman fosters watershed moments for the hundreds who attend his lectures or workshops each year. In October 2010, for example, he was the keynote speaker for the From Rain to Resources Workshop hosted by the Okanagan Basin Water Board in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Brock Dolman gives 50 to 60 talks a year to groups ranging from the Audubon Society to the Rotary Club, where he attempts to increase understanding of how water moves through urban and rural landscapes and how humans can participate wisely in its course. 

Dolman and his co-workers teach workshops on how to install rain gardens and roof water harvesting systems, how to reduce sediment flow into creeks and rivers (which compromises fish habitat while washing valuable topsoil downstream) and how to mend eroding waterways. The Water Institute's signature four-day "Basins of Relations" seminar promotes collective action.

To read the complete story as written by Deborah K. Rich and published online by the San Francisco Chronicle, click here.

Think Like a Watershed: At the British Columbia workshop, Brock Dolman’s keynote presentation was titled Basins of Relations: Thinking Like a Watershed. He offered interpretation about water, watersheds, human development patterns and restoration. 

Brock Dolman discussed rainwater harvesting as a strategy of water conservation from roofs to the broader landscape. He expanded on ideas of “Conservation Hydrology” and Low Impact Development, which emphasize the need in many areas for human development designs to move from drainage to retainage.

He also offered ideas on practices that spread, slow and sink rainwater on site rather than land use practices that, by design, capture and convey excess volumes of rainwater and stormwater off-site. 

To access the set of stories posted on the homepage for the From Rain to Resource Workshop, click here.

Evolution of Stormwater Management in Atlanta, Georgia

Identify and Deal with Obstacles
Published by Stormwater Magazine in 2007. a 3-part series of articles focused on causes, effects, and remedies leading to the establishment and refinement of administrative procedures, professional trust, proactive approaches, and the elimination of plan implementation obstacles in the Atlanta, Georgia region. Titled the Evolution of Stormwater Management:
"Minimum compliance is no longer the standard, and stormwater is no longer an afterthought for community planning," wrote Dave Briglio, series author and Principal Engineer at AMEC. "As a community, we must pool our resources to help enable a positive return on our endeavors. The goal is not only to continually improve the protection and restoration of our streams and watershed but also to improve the process."

Part 1 of the series discussed issues ranging from floodplains to best management practices, to stream buffers and field inventories, to professional rights and responsibilities. Part 2 addressed challenges associated with innovative applications of accepted methodologies and who has (or wants) the responsibility and authority to deem which application should be allowed—and when. 

Part 3 highlighted the Etowah Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), a watershed program that supports the Endangered Species Act for the one of the most aquatically diverse watersheds in the United States. "The HCP shows that progress can be made and success gleaned by identifying and dealing with obstacles," concluded Dave Briglio.

The Etowah Basin lies on the north edge of the Atlanta metropolitan area. The suburban counties that comprise the lower portion of the system have been among the fastest growing counties in the United States over the last decade. In 1998, one of them (Forsyth County) was ranked as the fastest-growing county nationwide. Over the course of the 1990s the Atlanta metropolitan area added more people than any other region in the United States except Los Angeles.

Pathway to Urban Water Sustainability in British Columbia: Partnerships, Collaboration, Innovation and Integration


ESE Magazine publishes article about BC's Water Sustainability Action Plan
The January 2010 issue of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine includes an article about the policy framework put in place by the Province of British Columbia that enables local governments to commit to doing business differently.

The article states that the program goals for Living Water Smart, BC’s Water Plan and the companion Green Communities Initiative constitute a ‘call to action’ on the part of British Columbians to manage settlement change in balance with ecology.

The article describes how implementation of Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative is being advanced through partnerships, in particular the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. One vehicle for program delivery is Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, known by the acronym CAVI. 

Water issues are complex and best solved collaboratively, which include using strategies and solutions that fall outside government control. While legislative reform is a foundation piece, collaboration takes place in the world of practitioners.
"We have engaged in a conversational process to create a picture of what a shared vision for Vancouver Island could look like. We have also drawn attention to the need to balance settlement change in harmony with ecology. Although ecology can exist without habitation by humans, human habitation cannot exist without ecology,” states Eric Bonham, a founding member of the CAVI Leadership Team, and a former Director in both the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Municipal Affairs

TO LEARN MORE: The article was written by Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. The Partnership has responsibility for Action Plan delivery. The article draws on the perspectives of:
  • Lynn Kriwoken - Director, Ministry of Environment
  • Glen Brown - Executive Director, Ministry of Community & Rural Development
  • Tim Pringle - former Special Programs Director, Real Estate Foundation of BC
To download a copy of the article, click on Pathway to Urban Water Sustainability in British Columbia. Co-sponsored by the Province and the Real Estate Foundation, the Action Plan serves as a partnership umbrella for aligning actions at three scales: provincial, regional and local.

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Beyond the Guidebook 2010" is showcased on Province's Living Water Smart website

Preparing BC's Communities for Change
The following story about 'Beyond the Guidebook 2010' is reproduced from Living Water Smart, the website for British Columbia's Water Plan. Implementation of Living Water Smart is a provincial government priority that involves 11 ministries and many water and land managers and users.  Some projects are complete, or will have a short life of two to three years, while other commitments will be implemented over a much longer time period.

Implementing A New Culture
Water plays a huge role in shaping our communities. We need safe drinking water, water for homes and businesses, and to keep our environment healthy. We also need protection from floods. Actions in Living Water Smart will help communities adapt to climate change by designing our communities to live in harmony with water.

By living water smart, we can save water, energy, fuel, and money. By working with, rather than against nature, communities and developments will capture and use rain, treat or reuse wastewater, provide cool green spaces for urban relaxation, and reduce our energy needs. If we adopt these changes, communities will be more resilient to climate change and provide a higher quality of life. 

Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia connects the dots between RAINwater Management and Drought Management and shows how to achieve water sustainability through outcome-oriented urban watershed plans. Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is the ‘telling of the stories’ of how change is being implemented on the ground in BC. These stories demonstrate that the practitioner and community culture is changing as an outcome of collaboration and partnerships.

TO LEARN MORE: To access the Beyond the Guidebook 2010 homepage on the WaterBucket website, click here.

Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Road Map for Moving from Awareness to Action in BC to Protect Watershed Health

Creating Our Future
The Province of British Columbia has provided a ‘design with nature’ policy framework that enables local governments to build and/or rebuild communities in balance with ecology:
  • This is what we want to collectively and incrementally achieve over time, and this is how we will work together to get there.
The future desired by all will be created through alignment of federal, provincial, regional and local policies and actions. BC local government is among the most autonomous in Canada, and BC is perhaps the least prescriptive province. Historically, the Province has enabled local government by providing policy and legal tools in response to requests from local government. Local government can choose to act, or not.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES: Released in June 2010, Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia draws on BC case study experience to illustrate how success will follow when local government elected representatives, administrators and practitioners:
  1. Choose to be enabled.
  2. Establish high expectations.
  3. Embrace a shared vision.
  4. Collaborate as a ‘regional team’.
  5. Align and integrate efforts.
  6. Celebrate innovation.
  7. Connect with community advocates.
  8. Develop local government talent.
  9. Promote shared responsibility.
  10. Change the land ethic for the better.
The foregoing is extracted from Chapter 1 of Beyond the Guidebook 2010. To download a PDF copy of the complete extract, click on Moving from Awareness to Action in BC.

CAVI Chair John Finnie announced launch of "Beyond the Guidebook 2010" at the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ in June 2010

 Fresh Water Sustainability is in Our Hands! 

In June 2010, the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’ was the venue for the formal launch of Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia. John Finnie, Chair of CAVI - Convening for Action on Vancouver Island, made the announcement on behalf of the ‘convening for action’ partnership. John Finnie is General Manager, Regional and Community Utilities, with the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Sponsored by BC Hydro, and faciliated by Kathy Bishop, the Dialogue in Nanaimo was co-hosted by Leadership BC-Vancouver Island and the the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. The key theme of the day was: "What can we do together for Vancouver Island to become a flagship model of fresh water sustainability?"
“Beyond the Guidebook 2010 describes how water sustainability can and will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. Getting there relies on a change in mind-set,” he stated. 

“Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is outcome-oriented. When the right people with the right knowledge are involved at the right time to apply informed judgment in a collaborative process, the outcome-oriented approach saves time and money.”

“The Guidebook reference is to Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in 2002. Looking back, we can see that the Guidebook was a catalyst for change that has resulted in British Columbia achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing a green infrastructure approach to rainwater management," concluded John Finnie.

“It is a great resource, well written ... Down to earth, and in line with what CAVI and Action Plan speak about... The new business as usual, connecting the dots and giving useful tools and roadmaps for success. It is an easy read, and captivating with the stories, quotes and pictures,” added Kathy Bishop.

TO LEARN MORE: To view a video clip posted on YouTube that shows John Finnie making the announcement, click here.To read two stories posted on the Water Bucket website, click on the links below: 
 To access the homepage for Beyond the Guidebook 2010, click here.

Formal Rollout of "Beyond the Guidebook 2010" Commenced at the UBCM Annual Convention

Forging Gold Medal Standards for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration
The formal rollout of Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia commenced on September 27th at the 2010 annual convention of local governments, held in Whistler. The convention theme was Forging Gold Medal Standards in keeping with the Olympic spirit of the Whistler venue.

Glen Brown and Ray Fung represented the provincial and local government perspectives, respectively, in delivering an integrated presentation to a packed study session (180 attendees). They spoke on behalf of the “convening for action” partnership that is responsible for Beyond the Guidebook 2010, released under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

To read a story posted on the Water Bucket website about their co-presentation, click on Forging Gold Medal Standards for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia.

REGIONAL TEAM APPROACH: "The philosophy behind the Action Plan is quite simple: bring local and regional stakeholders together where there is a desire and energy to make some form of change," explained Glen Brown when he elaborated on the 'regional team approach'.

"As we move forward with the Action Plan, it is making sure that we provide the people on the ground with the tools and resources that they need to help support action at the local level."

"A top-down approach does not work. It is all about being bottom-up... that is to say, the regional team approach. When a community shows interest or a desire to move something forward, that is when we mobilize. The Action Plan purpose is to engage, listen, understand and support the local interests in moving forward. That is where we have been successful."
To view a 3-minute video clip of Glen Brown elaborating on the 'regional team appoach', click here.

SHARED RESPONSIBILITY: Beyond the Guidebook 2010 synthesized a set of ten guiding principles that provide a framework for a successful local government implementation process. Ray Fung spoke to these principles in his part of the integrated presentation.

"There are a lot of times when we in local government like to blame or put on senior governments the responsibility to provide the framework for doing something...but there are things that we in local government can do. We need to choose to be enabled," stated Ray Fung.

"So, what we mean by shared responsibility is that everyone has a role, and everyone can act.... all levels of government, developers, regulators, bureaucrats, consultants, planners, engineers.... we all have a role."
To view a 90-second video clip of Ray Fung speaking about Guiding Principle #9, Promote Shared Responsibility, click here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In 2005, Metro Vancouver Developed Design Guidelines to Complement the Water Balance Model

Capture Rain Where It Falls 
In 2005, Metro Vancouver released Stormwater Source Controls Design Guidelines 2005. This work was based on the adaptation of design standards from areas of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America with similar climatic and soil conditions. The research was commissioned by the Stormwater Inter-Agency Group (SILG) - a Metro Vancouver technical committee - to complement the Water Balance Model for British Columbia.

"The objective of this project was to reduce information barriers that previously stood in the way of effective implementation of rainwater source controls in the Georgia Basin region of British Columbia. Our focus was on the technical details of practices in landscape areas that treat rainwater through plant materials and soils by infiltration, retention, detention and evapotranspiration," stated Ed von Euw, Senior Engineer with Metro Vancouver.

The Water Balance Model Partnership had its genesis as a sub-group of SILG. By 2005, the combination of the Water Balance Model and the Design Guidelines enabled engineers, planners, landscape architects, architects, developers and builders to select, assess and implement landscape-based solutions that made sense.

"SILG provided financial support for development of the Water Balance Model because it is a  tool that will enable Greater Vancouver municipalities to fulfil their commitments to integrated stormwater management planning under the regional Liquid Waste Management Plan. This is the driver for applying the water balance approach," added Ed von Euw in an article that was posted on the Water Bucket website in 2005.

In British Columbia, publication of the Design Guidelines represented an important step in simplifying the technical language so that there would be a clearer public and practitioner understanding of the suite of source control options for capturing rain where it falls.

TO LEARN MORE: The Design Guidelines include typical details, generalized specifications, and guidelines for each of the six priority source control topics:
  • Abosorbent Landscapes
  • Infiltration Swale System
  • Rain Garden 
  • Pervious Paving
  • Green Roof
  • Infiltration Trench & Soakaway
To download a copy of the Design Guidelines and an accompanying set of posters, click on Metro Vancouver Develops Design Guidelines to Complement Water Balance Model to access an article posted on the Water Bucket website.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 Building SustainAble Communities Conference in Kelowna

In 2012, the Fresh Outlook Foundation is hosting the 5th edition of the Building SustainAble Communities conference. It will be held in Kelowna, BC from February 27 through March 1. The conference program was inspired by 75 experts on 11 planning committees.

“With more than 250 speakers and industry experts addressing a huge range of topics, it promises to be a must-attend event for anyone passionate about community sustainability,” reports Joanne deVries, Fresh Outlook Founder and CEO. 

“There is a special day-long session devoted to sustainable water management issues. Six panel sessions will address different aspects of water and provide a broad-brush picture of the innovation that is emerging in British Columbia.  The six sessions will address source water protection, water valuation & costing, sustainable wastewater management, sustainable infrastructure delivery, water efficiency & conservation, and sustainable rainwater management.”

The Sustainable Infrastructure Delivery and Sustainable Rainwater Management sessions will set the stage for hands-on training at a companion event organized on March 1st by the Okanagan Basin Water Board: Keeping up with the Climate, Keeping up with Technology: Tools Workshop.

TO LEARN MORE: The Building SustainAble Communities Conference program features a wide range of plenaries, breakouts, panels, forums, debates, and interactive sessions to provide opportunities for enhanced communication and collaboration.  To learn more, click on Program at a Glance.

A LOOK AHEAD TO 'TOOLS WORKSHOP': If climate change mitigation is about greenhouse gases, climate change adaptation is about water. Municipalities will face unprecedented pressure on their water resources and municipal infrastructure, and adaptation is key to building healthy, sustainable communities.

"A number of tools have been created to help municipalities adapt to climate change. The Okanagan Basin Water Board will be hosting a workshop to get these tools in the hands of the people that need them by bringing in the experts to answer questions and provide hands-on training," reports Anna Warwick Sears, Executive Director.

Tools include the Water Balance Model, Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee Protocol (PIEVC), Okanagan Irrigation Management Tool, and Streamlined Water Use Reporting Tool.

Do you wonder how communities can reduce our ‘water footprint’ by ‘designing with nature’? --- The Water Balance Model is a unique web-based scenario comparison tool. Powered by the proven QUALHYMO calculation engine, the Water Balance Model bridges planning and engineering, links development sites to the stream and watershed, and helps define science-based performance targets (for runoff volume and streamflow duration).

Recently rebuilt on a Linux platform, it now has “launch buttons” at three scales: SITE, NEIGHBOURHOOD and WATERSHED. The addition of three more modules - Climate Change, Stream Erosion and Rainwater Harvesting – provides expanded capabilities. More modules will be unveiled in early 2012, including the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool and the Tree Canopy Module. ·   

E-Blast #2011-66
December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Living Water Smart: British Columbia’s Water Plan

A Plan for Water Sustainability
Released in June 2008, Living Water Smart,British Columbia's Water Plan is a blueprint for cultural, environmental, industrial, community and agricultural change that will help safeguard the province’s water resources into the future. Drawing on a variety of policy measures, including planning, regulatory change, education, and incentives such as economic instruments and rewards, the plan commits to new actions and builds on existing efforts to protect and keep B.C.’s water healthy and secure.
“Water defines British Columbia and it is essential to our quality of life,” stated former Environment Minister Barry Penner when he announced the release of this visionary document at Musqueam Creek in the City of Vancouver. “Living Water Smart lays out the vision and the steps needed to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and watersheds. This plan will make B.C. a leader in water stewardship, fits with our overarching strategy to protect the environment and positions us for continued success in the 21st century.”

Representatives of several organizations joined Minister Penner for the announcement, including Maureen Enser, Executive Director of the Urban Development Institute.

"The Urban Development Institute is committed to wise and efficient land use. By working collaboratively and collectively, we can apply new ideas and thinking to the way we build communities," stated Maureen Enser. "Today we are on the brink of change. This is a special moment in time. We have been looking for a clear vision for this province in terms of its water we have to work together to make sure that the plan comes to fruition. Minister, this is phenomenal. We are committing ourselves as an industry to working with government at all levels to make sure this precious resource is protected for future generations."

TO LEARN MORE: To read an article posted on the Water Balance Model community-of-interest about the June 2008 announcement by former Minister of Environment Barry Penner, click on Living Water Smart: A Plan for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

Partnership for Water Sustainability has a role in implementing 'Living Water Smart, British Columbia's Water Plan'

Choosing To Do Business Differently
Incorporated as a non-profit society, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia had its genesis in the Water Sustainability Committee of the BC Water & Waste Association. From 2003 through 2010, that committee was the hub for a "convening for action" network that has been advancing change in a local government setting. The Partnership is now that hub.

"The Partnership vision is that water sustainability will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices. The Partnership mission is to facilitate change by helping the Province implement Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan and the Green Communities Initiative on the ground," states Tim Pringle, President of the Partnership.

"The Partnership is building on and continuing the work that has gone on before under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. The Action Plan has allowed the Province to leverage partnerships to greatly enhance the profile and resulting impact of Living Water Smart since its release in 2008. The strategy for leading and implementing change is called Convening for Change in British Columbia. It is about choosing to do business differently. The Partnership has branded this as The New Business As Usual", concludes Tim Pringle.

“A provincial policy framework is now in place that enables municipalities to ‘do business differently’ in order to design their communities to live in harmony with water,” adds Lynn Kriwoken, Director, Water Protection & Sustainability Branch in the Ministry of Environment, and the Province’s lead person for delivery of Living Water Smart. “By living water smart, communities will be more prepared for climate change and their quality of life will be enhanced.”

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete article posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Partnership for Water Sustainability has a role in implementing 'Living Water Smart, British Columbia's Water Plan'.

Web-based provincial tools enable Water-Centric Planning and Living Water Smart

Living Water Smart Targets and Actions
Released in June 2008, Living Water Smart, British Columbia's Water Plan provides government's vision for sustainable water stewardship. Of the 45 actions and targets in Living Water Smart, three in particular serve to establish expectations vis-à-vis how land will be developed (or redeveloped) and water will be used. These three are listed below and are cross-referenced to the three subject areas and page numbers in the Living Water Smart vision document:
  • Doing Business Differently: By 2012, all land and water managers will know what makes a stream healthy, and therefore be able to help land and water users factor in new approaches to securing stream health and the full range of stream benefits (page 43)
  • Preparing Communities for Change: By 2012, new  approaches to water management will address the impacts from a changing water cycle, increased drought and risk, and other impacts on water caused by climate change (page 61)
  • Choosing To Be Water Smart: By 2020, 50% of new municipal water needs will be acquired through conservation (page 75)
"To make it possible to achieve Living Water Smart targets and actions, the Province has developed a suite of tools," reports Ted van der Gulik, the Senior Engineer in the Ministry of Agriculture. He has been the Province’s lead person for development of all but the Water Conservation Calculator.

“These tools are all web-based and accessible to anyone with a computer. They are intended to support new approaches to water management. They can be applied on-the-ground by land and water practitioners. Our vision is that they will collectively facilitate informed decision-making with respect to climate change adaptation.”

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket, click on Web-based provincial tools enable Water-Centric Planning and Living Water Smart. The story is excerpted from Chapter 6 of  'Beyond the Guidebook 2010', released in June 2010. To download a PDF version of the 2-page excerpt, click on Living Water Smart Actions and Targets.

Beyond the Guidebook 2010 describes how a ‘convening for action’ philosophy has taken root in British Columbia. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams. Their action-oriented focus has resulted in ‘how to do it’ examples that help decision-makers visualize what ‘design with nature’ policy goals look like on the ground.’