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UBCM Urban Forum: Moving Toward Sustainable Urban Development in British Columbia (Sep 2003)

“The combination of the two presentations was quite powerful,” stated Surrey Councillor Marvin Hunt, Forum Chair, in his closing remarks. “Because the Guidebook and Water Balance Model presentation was about on-the-ground action, it showed how to make the 100-year vision real to BC’s elected representatives. The take-away message is clear: If communities design with nature, the 100-year vision will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

In 2003, the Inter-Government Partnership called on BC politicians to embrace water balance thinking and “Design with Nature” at the Union of BC Municipalities Urban Forum

"With release of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia in 2002, the Partnership set out to change the way land is developed in BC,” states Ted van der Gulik. “Our mission is to influence the culture in the local government setting. From the start, we have had high-level political endorsement and support. Notably, in September 2003, the Union of BC Municipalities provided us with a platform to tell our story.”

Designing with Nature in British Columbia – a presentation to local government elected representatives on “Walking the Talk for Sustainable Community Design” (Sep 2003)

Mayor Barry Janyk (Town of Gibsons), Dipak Basu (City of Chilliwack) and Kim Stephens (Inter-Governmental Partnership) tag-teamed to tell the story of the inter-governmental partnership that had developed the Water Balance Model as an extension of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. "In the interactive session, it was clear that our story had resonated with my fellow elected representatives. They got it!," stated Barry Janyk.

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.

2015 Water Balance Forum: Agenda Overview – “The town-hall approach to audience interaction at the start primed the group for the technical content,” stated Ted van der Gulik

The agenda for the half-day forum was structured in four parts. "The forum program was a mix of storytelling, showcasing, sharing and teaching so that we would achieve the learning outcomes,” reports Ted van der Guilik. "Our objective in the first two segments was to engage and energize our audience. For this reason, we conducted them as town-hall sharing in order to prime everyone for the teachable moment in segment #3.”

2015 Water Balance Forum: “By the end of the forum, we hope you will be inspired by what you have learned,” stated Kim Stephens when kicking off the storytelling segment of the day (YouTube Video)

"We are experiencing wetter, warmer winters and longer, drier summers," stated Kim Stephens. "BC dodged a bullet during the 2015 drought – that leads us to focus on how the decisions those in local government make on a daily basis impact on the water balance. This perspective frames the bigger picture and sets the stage for drilling down into the details of the Water Balance Methodology.”

2015 Water Balance Forum: “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see,” stated Sir Winston Churchill – famous quotable quote provides relevant historical analogy for implementing a water balance approach to restore a desired watershed condition (YouTube Video)

The Winston Churchill quote provided a way to change the pace, capture audience attention and set the stage for the balance of the 'look back to look ahead' theme that characterized the storytelling in the opening segment of the forum. If there is a living memory of the way things were, then it should be possible to implement standards of practice that would replicate and restore a desired watershed condition.

2015 Water Balance Forum: Water Balance Express for Landowners integrates & balances 3 watershed targets (YouTube Video) – “The volume-based approach being implemented in British Columbia picks up the baton that Dr. Ray Linsley started more than a generation ago,” wrote Dr. Thomas Debo in an article published in 2003

“Getting to this point has involved the re-thinking of traditional approaches to urban hydrology and computer modelling," wrote Tom Debo, a former colleague and friend of Ray Linsley. “Drainage engineers have traditionally thought in terms of flow rates, not volumes. In dealing with urban hydrology, we need to focus on how much rainfall volume has fallen, how we are going to capture it, and what we are going to do with it.”

2015 Water Balance Forum: “Mimic stream flow and duration to limit stream erosion, prevent flooding and improve water quality,” stated Jim Dumont when explaining how to apply the Water Balance Methodology (step-by-step YouTube Videos)

“The Water Balance Methodology is based upon watershed and stream function and operation. Understanding how precipitation makes its way to the stream allow us to assess how a watershed and stream operates and to analytically demonstrate impacts of development and the effectiveness of any mitigation works," states Jim Dumont.

2015 Water Balance Forum: “We have to fundamentally re-think how we manage water in British Columbia,” stated Kim Stephens in his concluding remarks (YouTube Video)

“Water Balance adaptive action is necessary because we may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime in Western North America,” stated Kim Stephens. "Annual volumes of water entering and exiting our regions are not necessarily changing; instead, what is changing is how and when water arrives – it is feast AND famine. In other words, the ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts.