ANNOUNCEMENT: Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia re-builds and re-launches waterbalance.ca website for easy access to an array of online tools that support the vision for “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (Sept 2017)

Note to Reader:

Inter-governmental collaboration and funding enable the Partnership for Sustainability in British Columbia to collaborate with others to develop approaches, tools and resources; as well as provide teaching, training and mentoring.

The educational goal is to build practitioner capacity within the local government setting to implement a whole-system, water balance approach branded as Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management. Comprehensive and coordinated use of the eleven (11) decision support tools accessible from the waterbalance.ca website would help communities achieve this desired outcome.

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Tools and Resources for
Climate Adaptation Action

“The current industry-wide move to on-line computation, propelled by changing approaches to software delivery as a multitude of enterprises commit to The Cloud, is hugely important,” states Dr. Charles Rowney, the Partnership’s Scientific Authority for the Water Balance Model family of tools.

CharlesRowney_2016_120pAs the Director of Operations for the new US-based Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management, Charles Rowney is a driving force behind ncimm.org.

Under an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency, ncimm.org has been created to provide sustainable research, development and outreach for water infrastructure modeling, initially focusing on two foremost modelling tools – known around the world by the acronyms EPA SWMM and EPANET.

Online Computation:

“The leadership shown by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in decisively moving in this direction well over a decade ago has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn,” continues Dr. Rowney.

“We will certainly tap into the Water Balance Model experience as the Center explores options for SWMM and EPANET deployment beyond the desktop.

“The Partnership understanding of hydrology and watershed management issues in the Pacific Northwest provides some intriguing insights into new diagnostics, targets and interpretation needs for watersheds, and the tools we develop will very likely need to embrace those ideas,” concludes Dr. Rowney.

North American Leaders in Flow-Duration Analysis

“The Partnership for Water Sustainability is evolving online tools that support implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach. British Columbia, Washington State and California are leaders. We are moving forward in parallel on this journey,” states Jim Dumont, the Partnership’s Engineering Applications Authority.

Jim-Dumont1_June2015DSC_05358_120pA commonality is that all three regions are addressing impacts to the stream. Washington State and California have gone a step further than BC and mandated Flow-Duration Analysis as a regulatory requirement.

Over time, Jim Dumont has evolved the Water Balance Methodology to synthesize watershed hydrology and stream dynamics.

“The innovation in BC’s Water Balance Methodology is found in the integration and application of proven scientific and engineering principles,” emphasizes Jim Dumont.

“The methodology provides a logical and straightforward way to assess potential impacts resulting from urban development; and analytically demonstrate the effectiveness of the methods proposed for preventing and/or mitigating those impacts.”

“Real-world success would be defined as reduced stream erosion during wet weather, and sustained ‘environmental flows’ during dry weather,” concludes Jim Dumont.

To Learn More:

Download the Primer on Water Balance Methodology for Protecting Watershed Health, the fifth in a series of guidance documents that form the basis for knowledge-transfer via the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI). The foundation document for the series is Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in 2002.

Water Balance Tools & Calculators

Comprehensive and coordinated use of the 11 decision support tools listed below, and accessible from waterbalance.ca, would assist communities on their journeys to a water-resilient future:

  • Water Balance Model Desktop (NEW) – Facilitates application of the Water Balance Methodology (WBM) to establish watershed-specific performance targets. In turn, this would support use of EAP. These are the twin pillars of the whole-system, water balance approach.
  • Water Balance Model Online (ENHANCED) – A planning tool for assessing green infrastructure effectiveness at neighbourhood or individual property scales. Compare scenarios for runoff reduction. Modules include: Climate Change, Stream Erosion, Tree Canopy Rainfall Interception, Rainwater Harvesting.
  • Water Balance Express (ENHANCED) – An interactive tool for homeowners. Created to spur changes in practice. Click and drag components. Learn what it means and how to slow, spread and sink rainwater that runs off hard surfaces.
  • QUALHYMO Engine – Powers the Water Balance family of tools. Continuous and multi-year simulation modelling of hydrologic processes and water quality. Model has watershed, receiving stream and BMP components.
  • Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool – Assess level-of-service for conveyance systems. Consider impact of both climate change and land use change at the same time, and with the same tool.
  • BC Water Conservation Calculator – Developed to support provincial grant applications, this tool is used by communities to demonstrate how fiscal and water savings would be achieved.
  • BC Agriculture Water Calculator – Developed to support the BC Groundwater Regulation, helps agriculture water users estimate annual irrigation or livestock water demands for farms.
  • Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling Calculator – Uses real-time evapotranspiration (ET) data from climate stations to determine drip irrigation run times and sprinkler irrigation schedules for agriculture.
  • Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator – Uses real-time ET data for climate stations across Canada to determine landscape irrigation system run times.
  • Soil Hydraulic Properties Calculator – Useful for irrigation design. Select soil type to determine field capacity, wilting point, saturated hydraulic conductivity and maximum water content.
  • Evapotranspiration Calculator – Obtains real-time ET data for climate stations across Canada. A crop’s water requirement or water usage is directly related to ET.

A Look Ahead

A foundation piece for the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach is understanding how water gets to a stream, and how long it takes.

British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act will establish regulations pertaining to stream health and aquatic environments. The environmental flows objective may open the door to requiring Flow-Duration Analysis. This would then be a regulatory driver for use of the Water Balance Model Desktop.

Primer on Water Balance Methodology_Feb-2014_cover