“The experience of the Greater Vancouver region shows how important it is to build a network that can make things happen. Looking back, much of what we have collectively accomplished in recent years in the field of rainwater management can be traced back to relationships," stated Laura Maclean. “We now see a comparable relationship-building process taking shape on Vancouver Island."
In 2007-2008, the University of British Columbia led a national initiative to create a network of experts that collaborate and share their experiences. In a series of conferences across Canada, Richard Boase of the District of North Vancouver made a defining presentation titled 'New Directions in Urban Watershed Health'. “A key message is that we were doing better 50 years ago when we did not even think about the need for rainwater capture,” he observed.
"The innovation that has occurred in the past three years is absolutely outstanding. Every municipality is doing something. We used to go down to Washington State to see what they are doing. Now they come up here to see what we are doing. It is the scale at which we are implementing rainwater management and green infrastructure that distinguishes British Columbia," stated Kim Stephens.
"By pooling resources under a regional partnership framework, local governments can leverage the efforts of their own staffs and develop a common understanding of issues and solutions," explained Paul Ham.
A panel session created a timely opportunity to compare an American top-down prescriptive approach versus a Canadian bottom-up educational approach. Kim Stephens introduced this perspective: "A decade ago, British Columbia and Washington State had the same science and a common understanding of what it meant. The point of departure for rainwater management and green infrastructure was the same. A decade later, are they on diverging paths?"
Nature's Revenue Streams is a 3-year public-private pilot project, based in Saanich BC. "The project will show how urban development can be used as an opportunity to improve watershed and stream health, build/restore aquatic habitat and reduce infrastructure costs," stated Patrick Lucey.
Hosted by the Fraser Basin Council, the workshop dealt with adaptive decision-making, water management and climate change; and featured a panel session comprising four speakers representing diverse fields of thought. "The key is to focus on what you want to do. Because many factors are in play, the objective is to build in resiliency to address risk,” stated Kim Stephens.
“It was an interesting mix of planners and engineers. This provided a range of perspectives, from community planning to on-the-ground utility maintenance. Roundtable sessions like this are essential for building understanding," observed Peter Law (Ministry of Environment).
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
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