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.
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.
“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."
“We have seven basin-scale ‘water region’ areas for planning and communication purposes,” reports Julie Pisani (Regional District of Nanaimo). “Our goal was to produce a publication that profiled the health of key streams in each water region and connected residents with the waterways in their neighbourhood. The State of our Streams publications we produced were modelled on the template used by the City of Courtenay."
"Although designed for developing nations, the UN's ‘Water for Life’ targets may guide British Columbians towards greater community resiliency, human health and equity, and ecosystem protection," reports Shannon Cowan. "The Salt Spring Island Watershed Protection Authority established a whole-watershed approach and a structured planning process founded on scientific evidence and coordinated governance that included locals in advisory roles."
"The Convening for Action in Metro Vancouver initiative was launched through the Green Infrastructure Partnership, in 2005," reports Ray Fung. "Metro Vancouver experience then informed implementation of the Vancouver Island program (commencing in 2007). For the past decade, cross-pollination of ideas and approaches has been ongoing among local government leaders."
“Green infrastructure practices have moved from pilot project to neighbourhood and watershed scale approaches. I believe that, in some substantive way, our Green Infrastructure Partnership efforts a decade ago advanced the cause of sustainable development and moved the state of-the-art of green infrastructure to a more mainstream level,” stated Paul Ham, Past-Chair (2005-2008).
"We respectfully challenge each other’s ideas to come up with solutions that are far more robust than any one of us could develop in isolation. There are big, audacious visions and goals for reform in watershed health and stormwater management," wrote Melony Burton. "Collectively, we bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, ideas and organizational resources to the table to tackle big goals together. This is how the hard stuff gets done.”
Beyond the Guidebook 2010 describes how a ‘convening for action’ philosophy has taken root in British Columbia. “It is a great resource, well written. Down to earth, and in line with what the Water Sustainability Action Plan speaks 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,” states Kathy Bishop.
Living Water Smart comprises more than 40 actions and targets, including ones that focus on ways to save water and use the savings to meet growth in demand. New commercial buildings and/or land redevelopment to a higher density create opportunities to implement rainwater harvesting. An example is the Capital Region District (CRD) headquarters building in Victoria, reports Jody Watson.