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Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia

MISSION POSSIBLE: “Major breakthroughs happen when decision-makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community,” stated Eric Bonham, founding member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“Major breakthroughs happen when decision-makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community to create the future desired by all. Collaboration grows from a shared vision about the future and commitment to action. This is the ‘top down and bottom up’ approach,” stated Eric Bonham.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO” launched at inter-regional Water Balance Partners Forum hosted by North Vancouver District (Feb 2008)


“A key message is the speed with which scenario analyses and comparisons can now be completed,” stated Jim Dumont. “What previously took weeks can now be done in hours. The significant benefit of the ‘new Water Balance Model’ is the resulting emphasis on strategy and alternative implementation methodologies. The QUALHYMO model is the proven hydrologic calculation engine that will provide consistent delivery of reliable results.”

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“Communities and cities are all about choices – much will depend on getting the choices right for integrating water balance solutions in land use decisions,” stated Kim Stephens in his presentation to municipal engineers at the 2016 Annual APEGBC Conference


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.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: Case study applications of Water Balance Model showcased at capacity-building forum hosted by Cowichan Valley Regional District (Oct 2008)


“The case study applications built a common understanding of how to achieve runoff-based performance targets for rainwater management and green infrastructure,” stated Rob Conway. “What is unique about our approach is the educational context. Willing owners/developers and their planning/design consultants volunteered to develop and share the case studies. It truly is a collaborative effort.”

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“Within two years, our goal is that local governments will understand WHY and HOW to transition to Sustainable Watershed Systems, through asset management,” stated Kim Stephens at a meeting of Metro Vancouver’s Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (Nov 2016)


“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.”

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“It has taken more than a decade to implement a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes ‘Water-Resilient Communities’ possible in British Columbia,” Kim Stephens explained to a local government audience in Parksville


“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.”

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“Get it right at the development scale and the results will accumulate at the watershed and regional scales,” said Kim Stephens in a lecture to landscape architect students at UBC


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.”

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INSPIRING INNOVATION: “If British Columbia can do it, then there is no reason why we can’t do it too!,” stated Karenne Jurd, City of Newcastle (Australia), when reflecting on keynote addresses by Kim Stephens in 2001 and 2016


“In reflecting on our 2001 three day capacity building course in Newcastle, it did more than just build my capacity as a strategic natural resource planner. It fuelled my enthusiasm as an agent of change in our own 15 year journey in urban water cycle management,” stated Karenne Jurd. “The window into BC water management he opened showed us ‘what was possible’. It was a seminal moment in time.”

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MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Sustainable Service Delivery – Watersheds are infrastructure assets


“Implementation of asset management along with the associated evolution of local government thinking is a continuous quality improvement process, not a discrete task. This led us to the concept of a continuum. The relevance of this way of thinking is that different local governments will always be at different points and different levels of maturity along the asset management continuum,” wrote Ray Fung (photo left) and Glen Brown in their Sitelines article.

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ARTICLE: Hydrology Rules! – “Simply put, hydrology hits first and hardest,” explained Dr. Richard Horner about insights yielded by Washington State research in the 1990s


If we get the hydrology right, water quality typically takes care of itself in a residential development. “When the goal of land servicing practices is pre-settlement hydrology, this reduces the quantity of urban runoff discharged into a stream. It also improves the quality of the remainder of that which is discharged. In short, mimicking the natural water balance has a dual benefit,” emphasized Richard Horner.

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