Five Regional Districts representing 75% of BC’s population are partners in the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI). A program deliverable is the Beyond the Guidebook 2015. It is a progress report on how local governments are ‘learning by doing’ to implement affordable and effective science-based practices. It is the third in a series that builds on Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.
"Convening for Action is a provincial initiative that supports innovation on-the-ground. From the perspective of those leading and/or participating in regional programs, having this community-of-interest provides the opportunity to 'tell our story' and 'record our history' as a work-in-progress," states Ray Fung.
In his 1969 book, Design With Nature, Ian McHarg pioneered the concept of environmental planning. "So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!," wrote Ian McHarg.
“Future planners, engineers, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism and be able to frame the issue of achieving water-resiliency in communities against the backdrop of an unpredictable water cycle. This in turn demands the honing of a further skill, that of working together towards consensus, commitment and collaboration," stated Eric Bonham.
"Drought, forest fires, floods and pine beetle in 2003 created a ‘teachable year’ for change in BC. This gave BC a head-start on many other regions. The outcome? A decade later, provincial ‘game-changers’ are now in place that enable solutions in the local government setting," stated Kim Stephens. "The three game-changers are Develop with Care 2014, the Water Sustainability Act, and Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework."
"We face a number of cumulative and compounding human effects that at present make sustainability a moving target. We need to stabilize these effects if we don’t want adaptation and resilience to constantly be beyond reach," said Bob Sandford. "The problem is that that we have begun to undermine the planetary conditions upon which we depend for the stability of environment and economy that are the foundation of our prosperity."
“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground," stated Keith Lawrence. "One of the actions undertaken throughout 2015 was a more coordinated approach to communicating what is happening in our region, and what can we do about climate impacts."
“We are using an adaptation strategy developed around the District’s Official Community Plan (known by the acronym OCP). For a local government, everything we do is driven by the OCP. By linking our climate adaptation strategy to the OCP, this results in an enabling framework for discussion and action in the spheres of influence encompassed by the OCP. It is all linked," stated Richard Boase.
Ted van der Gulik explained how the Agricultural Water Demand Model is being used in decision-making by local governments. “Agriculture is a large fresh water user and the demand for water will only increase as summers get longer, hotter and drier,” he stated. “BC needs 215,000 hectares of irrigated agriculture to feed our current population. The ~28,000 irrigated hectares in the Lower Mainland could be increased to 69,000 hectares at buildout."
"The pending study will assess the sensitivity of the Fraser River to salinity changes. A range of channel dredging scenarios will be simulated, recognizing that there may be practical limitations on the depth to which the Fraser River can be deepened. Ports around the world typically have navigation channels that are 16 m to 18 m deep. We don't as yet know what is realistic for the Fraser River," stated John ter Borg.
Where a local government regulates land use, a watershed is an integral part of the drainage infrastructure assets of the local government. More specifically, the three pathways (surface, interflow, groundwater) by which rainfall reaches streams are infrastructure assets. They provide ‘water balance services’. As such, protection and maintenance of the three pathways has financial, level-of-service and life-cycle implications for asset management.
Landscape irrigation can use up to 50% of the summertime domestic water demand. The new High Efficiency Irrigation Standard (HEIS) has been developed to improve the water efficiency of irrigation systems in British Columbia. According to Kirby Ell, the premise of the standard is that if all of the correct steps are taken, from design to installation to operation, there is a better chance that the irrigation system will be more efficient and save water.
“Healthier watersheds can handle high and low rainfall better, and are therefore more resilient to the coming changes," stated Kris La Rose. "From the regional perspective, mitigation of flood risk, water conservation and restoration and protection of our streams and rivers are all key priorities. The increase in extreme weather is highlighting the need to build better resiliency into the natural systems that we all rely so heavily upon."