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.
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.
The workshop program was structured as four modules and was cascading – from high-level visioning to ground-level applications. Adaptation to a changing climate was a unifying theme. Both the urban and agricultural perspectives were represented. “Our climate is changing. Demand for water will only increase as summers get longer, hotter and drier. And irrigation is the elephant in the room," stated Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
“We deliberated long and hard at the planning stages of the program on how to include the ‘Spirit & Science – An Inclusive Journey’ component. Without question the decision to proceed was the correct one,” stated Eric Bonham. "Bob McDonald's opening keynote reminded us all, in no uncertain terms, that we all live on one fragile planet that demands our collective respect. Bob Sandford – the other keynote - also gave a very powerful presentation.”
“No longer is asset management only about hard engineered assets – watermains, sewers, roads,” stated Kim Stephens. "Already facing a $200 billion challenge for renewal of hard infrastructure, 'Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework' provides a financial driver for local governments to integrate watershed systems thinking and climate adaptation into asset management."
“A greater appreciation for the natural beauty of the Okanagan, and a greater appreciation for the valley as an interconnected series of waterscapes, from mountain top to valley bottom, could help us develop a ‘made in the Okanagan’ aesthetic,” stated John Wagner. “Ensuring the long term sustainability of the water resource in the Okanagan requires that we fundamentally transform the ‘settler culture values’ that have dominated the region for the past century and a half."
“Designing with nature is efficient. It amounts to using income from natural capital rather than drawing down the resource,” states Tim Pringle. “The key principle is that settlement and ecology are equal values and they must be as much in balance as possible for wellbeing of human and natural systems. This condition supports better control of the life-cycle costs of providing infrastructure for the built environment.”
The workshop explored the role of water from the global to the local. The particular journey facing the Okanagan Basin includes the impact of climate change, water security, population demand and food security issues. "The Okanagan is a desert. As soon as people living there realize that, and stop living a California lifestyle, they will treat water as the truly rare commodity it actually is," stated Bob McDonald when he provided his closing reflections.
The workshop introduced the vision for Blue Ecology. "Hydrologists and water managers can use the hydrological and Blue Ecology cycles to help explain how and why the climate is changing," stated Michael Blackstock. "Western science is not wrong. It is just not complete. It is a matter of Western science embracing that water is part of a living ecosystem. Water is a core human interest upon which we can build collaborative cross-cultural climate change strategies."
"The project 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management' describes a whole-system, water balance approach to community development and infrastructure servicing," stated Kim Stephens. “As understanding grows, local governments will progress incrementally along the Asset Management Continuum for Sustainable Service Delivery. Step Three is Sustainable Watershed Systems."
"Kim Stephens was able to communicate concepts in a way that made sense to the class. They understood him perfectly," observed Todd Pugh, sessional instructor for Capilano’s Local Government Administration Certificate program. "It is such a mix of people – there were some who would have liked to hear more about the science behind what he presented, and for others it was more science than they’ve experienced since elementary school. So on the whole, I think he hit the right mix."
“On our greenhouse farms we use the roof rain water. The greenhouse sector acknowledges the cost of producing potable water and also acknowledges that we do not necessarily need potable water for irrigation," stated Linda Delli Santi. “We would like to see a source of river water, non-potable water piped directly to our farms. This is not a new idea, many cities in the world have two water supplies, potable and non-potable readily available to residents."
A scenario comparison tool to assess green infrastructure effectiveness, achieve a lighter 'water footprint' and protect stream health. Learn More
The Water Conservation Calculator illustrates how specific water conservation measures can yield both fiscal and physical water savings for communities. Learn More
This Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
This Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
The BC Agriculture Water Calculator enables water licensing for all irrigation purposes, whether agricultural or landscape. All non-domestic users of groundwater in BC are required to obtain a licence. Learn More