The Comox Valley faces a long list of challenges as more frequent and intense winter storms and summer droughts overwhelm engineered infrastructure and natural systems.The Symposium introduced participants to a whole-system, water balance approach for restoration of watershed health. “The symposium spotlight was on the potentially powerful and cost-effective role that ecosystem services can play in an infrastructure strategy," stated Tim Ennis.
In September 2006, CAVI-Convening for Action was launched in conjunction with the Water in the City Conference. At the consultation workshop, and to prime breakout groups for their brainstorming, Erik Karlsen led them through a series of questions: What are the conditions that create the need for change? So what are the options and the best choice? Now what are the strategies and commitments? Then what will be done to monitor performance and respond to future changes?
"The group was asked to identify what issues, problems or concerns exist currently within the Vancouver Island region," wrote Kerry Elfstrom. "It was agreed that Vancouver Island could be the focus since it has clearly defined geographical boundaries, every element of the industry represented (suppliers, operators, consultants, educators, interested Associations etc.) and advantageous proximity to the provincial Government."
"The Concept Development Session in September 2011 served as an inaugural meeting of individuals with a role in water and land management. The session purpose was to determine the viability of a regional team approach to water sustainability within the region ," explained Ron Smith. "The apparent disconnect between water and land management was noted by many participants."
"We spent the last half a century trying to control runoff with dikes, storm sewers, curbs and gutters. Now, increased development and increased storm intensity from climate change are increasing peak flows and altering the rules of the game," stated Anna Warwick Sears. “The Okanagan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of unmanaged stormwater and rainwater."
“My motivation is simple – I live right by a stream. I hear it roar when the rain is heavy, I hear it trickle in the summer. It provides comfort on dreary days. To me it is nature’s music. It is always there, that is how it should be. A threat to that undermines all those emotions that I and many streamkeepers feel," stated Jane Dysart. “Cause and effect. We hope to learn where we can help local government, and possibly participate by bringing ideas based on knowledge from this workshop.”
The 2nd annual North Vancouver workshop organized attracted participants from communities throughout the Metro Vancouver region, and on a Saturday afternoon! “The scope of involvement and influence of the streamkeeper is expanding beyond the creek channel,” stated Kim Stephens. “There is something taking place in British Columbia right now. It is a re-kindling of what took place in the 1990s and early 2000s in terms of the stewardship sector."
“My goal is for us to think about how water moves through the landscape, as it falls as precipitation and is altered by the urban environment, and then understand how can we can go about mimicking the natural water balance,” stated Julie Wilson. “I have used the Water Balance Express for a few years in the courses that I teach. The reception that I get is overwhelmingly positive. Students really love using the Water Balance Express because it is fun and user friendly.”
“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.”
“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.”
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