"In British Columbia, we have this unique model called top-down, bottom-up. It is the synthesis that results when you have an over-arching provincial policy framework and then all the players embrace shared responsibility," stated Kim Stephens. "If we can change the ethic, so that the land ethic becomes the water ethic, then the key is establishing precedents for doing things differently. Once you establish the precedents for designing with nature, then they can be replicated in other communities."
The keynote address was a co-presentation by Kim Stephens and Ted van der Gulik of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. “Licensing 20,000 wells initially seemed daunting when a provincial group met in mid-2015 to brainstorm an approach to this immense task. The team had to solve the challenge of HOW to help groundwater users reliably quantify their annual water licence volumes. Suffice to say, the brainstorming resulted in an Aha Moment and a solution took shape," stated Ted van der Gulik.
“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our 'whole systems' approach to water balance management," stated Kim Stephens. "I introduced Australians to three 'big ideas' that underpin where we are heading in BC, namely: Primacy of Hydrology, Shifting Baseline Syndrome, and Cathedral Thinking."
Communities would benefit from shifting their definitions of community infrastructure to include entire watersheds. “We invited Kim Stephens to be our lead speaker because we’re very interested in the work that he and the Partnership are doing around asset management and sustainable watersheds,” explained the City of Campbell River's Sara Brodie. She is on the APEGBC Municipal Engineering Division executive.
"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."
North Vancouver City is a case study for a UBC design course on integration of landscape architecture into urban rainwater management strategies. "The lecture by Kim Stephens was excellent and well-paced," stated Daniel Roehr, Associate Professor. "He provided clarity regarding a course objective, which is to design at different scales, using the reverse design strategy, site and details first before urban and regional scale."
"Everyone learns about the water cycle in elementary school, but by high school most have forgotten what they learned," said Kim Stephens. "What does this mean for communities? Consider that a legacy of community and infrastructure design practices has failed to protect the natural water balance (hydrologic integrity). Failure has financial, level‐of‐service and life‐cycle impacts and implications for taxpayers. The results can be very expensive to fix."
"There is no question that all of Council relishes Champion Supporter recognition. We strive to make sure that our watersheds work properly. We have a number of committees that are aimed at improving the health of the watershed and the health of the river - everything from sand and gravel operations to the way in which stormwater management takes place adjacent to city streets, the kinds of initiatives we have undertaken and continue to undertake," stated Mayor Richard Stewart
“On the North Shore, people are passionate about their creeks. Protection of salmon habitat and stream health is important to us. We all can make a difference by designing with nature. The change starts with rain gardens. A single rain garden will not make a material difference to stream health. But 1000 rain gardens would be a different story. Restoring stream health requires a long-term commitment," states Mayor Darrell Mussatto.
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