BACKGROUNDER SERIES ON SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: What the “Whole-System, Water Balance Approach” means for Lowland Drainage in BC (May 2017)
In British Columbia, agricultural development is often situated in the lowlands, and close to rivers. Historically, urban development has occurred in the uplands, with the rate of land development and re-development accelerating in recent decades.
This article serves two purposes. It provides historical context for the “ARDSA criteria” that have guided design and operation of drainage infrastructure in the agricultural lowlands. It also provides insight as to why it is necessary to restore watershed hydrology in the urban uplands.
The understanding provided by this article is part of the big picture for the whole-system, water balance approach that underpins “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”.
Historical Funding for Agriculture Development
The ARDA program (Agriculture Rural Development Agreement) of the 1960’s and early 1970’s was a Federal and Provincial capital projects program that funded rural agriculture development. This program was followed by ARDSA (Agriculture Rural Development Subsidiary Agreement) in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Both programs encompassed rural irrigation water supply, rural drainage infrastructure as well as rural electrification.
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