Across Canada Workshop Series on Resilient Rainwater Management concluded in Halifax: "What impressed me the most was hearing engineers linking stormwater management to watershed health and fish habitat!", said Jocelyne Rankin, Ecology Action Centre host
Note to Reader:
During the period October-November 2014, the Across Canada Workshop Series on Resilient Rainwater Management showcased the case study experience of those who are leading change in BC. The program introduced audiences in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes to the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners; and to the District of North Vancouver’s GEOweb open data portal. The fifth and last workshop was held in Halifax.
Sharing & Learning About BC’s Watershed-Based Solutions & Tools
“Each workshop comprised four modules,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. He was the series organizer and team leader for Resilient Rainwater Management: Across Canada Workshop Series on Adapting to a Changing Climate.
“Module 1 served two purposes: the local host provided local context; and the BC team set the stage for Modules 2 and 3 by presenting a broad-brush picture of the key elements of the BC storyline. We concluded the day with a town-hall forum.”
“Module 2 explained the science behind the Water Balance Methodology and how our knowledge expands and becomes clearer over time. This primed the audience for Module 3,” continues Ted van der Gulik, co-presenter and Partnership President.
“In Module 3, the spotlight was on the demonstration of four web-based tools: WBM Express, Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool, GEOweb and Irrigation Scheduling Calculator.”
To Learn More:
Click on the links below to download PDF copies of the presentation slides for Module Nos. 1 through 3.
Module 1: Convening for Action in British Columbia (5.3 MB)
Module 2: Mimic Natural Water Balance – Developing Solutions that Build Resilience (19.4 MB)
Module 3: Regional Team Approach – Implementing Changes in Practice(7.3 MB)
Adapt to a Changing Climate
The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) in Halifax hosted the Halifax Workshop. The EAC makes strong use of science in communicating its message to the public, and has been actively working on rainwater management and climate change adaptation:
- In 2012 the EAC hosted an applied workshop on Stormwater Management with presentations on stormwater best management practices and an interactive scenario exercise.
- In June 2013 the Centre co-hosted a workshop with Clean Foundation entitled “Stormwater Innovation: Management & Solutions”.
- Along with municipal partners and the Insurance Bureau of Canada and other funders, the EAC developed a stormwater demonstration site in Halifax as well as numerous rain gardens around the city.
“While many Atlantic communities have begun thinking about how a changing climate will affect them, relatively few focus on overall watershed health. Yet, experiences from other jurisdictions have shown that investing in green infrastructure and watershed health can have beneficial results for climate resiliency,” stated Jocelyne Rankin when the Halifax Workshop was first announced She is the Water Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, and was responsible for the local arrangements and awareness-raising that ensured the success of the workshop.
Key Message: Mimic the Water Balance
“The Resilient Rainwater Management workshop was the ideal stepping stone to advance our collective thinking on rainwater management and climate change adaptation in the Atlantic region,” commented Jocelyne Rankin afterwards. “What impressed me the most was hearing engineers linking stormwater management to watershed health and fish habitat! When the approach to managing stormwater involves mimicking the water balance, achieving watershed health goals becomes possible”.
“During the discussion I heard participants reflect on the hidden benefits of soil depth for enhancing interflow. I think this ‘ah-ha’ moment will help provide a foundation for future conversations on infiltration techniques for managing stormwater. It also confirms that environmental groups that are building demonstration rain gardens around the city are on the right track”.
“This workshop provided the theory and delivered an overview of user-friendly tools to help practitioners implement rainwater management techniques to meet watershed health goals and adapt to a changing climate”.
Water Balance Methodology
“The water balance of a watershed is complex. There are three pathways by which rainwater reaches streams: surface runoff, interflow in shallow soils, and deep groundwater,” explains Jim Dumont, the Engineering Applications Authority for the BC Partnership.
“Surface runoff is a small component of natural watershed function. The key to replicating watershed function and mitigating impacts is understanding ALL flow paths through the landscape. Then, Watershed-based Targets can be distilled into a set of design values that are easily applied at a lot level.”
“The Primer on the Water Balance Methodology for Protecting Stream Health lays the foundation for the integration of watershed information into a system of analysis that allows a practitioner to describe how the streams in a watershed are impacted by urban development.”
To Learn More:
Released in February 2014 by the Partnership, the Primer on Water Balance Methodology for Protecting Watershed Health is primarily written for a technical audience, and provides the water resource practitioner with how-to-guidance for applying an analytical process to establish the three Watershed-based Targets that “mimic the Natural Water Balance”.
In April 2014, the Partnership released a supplementary guidance document titled “An Introduction to the Water Balance Methodology for Protecting Watershed Health”.