Latest News provides access to British Columbia Guidance Documents on Watershed-Based Rainwater Management


"Recognizing that it is often challenging for practitioners to find what they are looking for, we believe that we have filled a gap. This page links to British Columbia documents that provide communities, engineers and land use professionals with guidance for implementing watershed-based planning, rainwater management, green infrastructure, and water sustainability," reports Mike Tanner.



Click on "Read Article" first. Then click on links to access these versions of the Express: North Vancouver, Cowichan Region, Surrey, Coquitlam and Comox Valley in BC; and Membertou in Cape Breton.

Water Balance Model – On Tour!


"Have a look at some of the Water Balance Model slideshow presentations that have been made to industry and government groups starting in 2001. This includes some of the early presentations on the Water Balance Methodology that helped pave the way for the paradigm-shift from 'peak flow thinking' to 'volume-based thinking'. The many presentations created awareness and influenced expectations," stated Ted van der Gulik.

DOWNLOAD: Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia


"Released in 2002, the Guidebook provides a framework for effective rainwater management throughout the province. This tool for local governments presents a methodology for moving from planning to action that focuses on implementing early action where it is most needed," states Laura Maclean. "The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional 'flows-and-pipes' stormwater management."

KEYNOTE AT COMMUNITY MEETING OF COQUITLAM RIVER WATERSHED ROUNDTABLE (June 2017): “Everyone needs to agree on expectations, and how all the players will work together,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he explained the ‘regional team approach’

"The 'regional team approach' is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales - provincial, regional and local," stated Kim Stephens. “We use the word collaboration a lot in British Columbia. And it means something to us. But in other parts of the world, my experience is that they don’t really understand our ‘top-down, bottom-up’ approach. It may take us longer to get there, but collaboration is how we get to the destination."

Sponge City: Solutions for China’s Thirsty and Flooded Cities

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a new way to think about flooding and drought. At China’s Central Government Conference on Urbanization, he announced that cities should act “like sponges.” This proclamation came with substantial funding to experiment with ways cities can absorb precipitation. It also injected a new term into the global urban design vocabulary.

FLASHBACK TO 2013: “In the 21st century we are implementing smaller-scale solutions. In the long-term, this will produce a savings for the City and taxpayers,” wrote Councillor Lisa Helps in a primer about Victoria’s Stormwater Utility

In 2014 the City of Victoria will be rolling out its new Stormwater Utility. "This is something that makes the City of Victoria a leader in Canada. It’s innovative because it encourages people, at the level of their own properties, to take responsibility and leadership for creating solutions – like rain barrels, cisterns, raingardens, bioswales – that are good for the planet and good for the City’s stormwater system," wrote Lisa Helps.

KEYNOTE AT COMOX VALLEY ECO-ASSET SYMPOSIUM (March 2017): “It has taken more than a decade to implement a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes possible ‘water-resilient communities’,”stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he elaborated on the vision for ‘sustainable watershed systems’

“Too often we talk about water and land as silos. But what happens on the land does matter! It is whether and how we respect the land that really affects what happens with water. That is a key message. It is why we are moving forward with the program for informing and educating local governments and the stewardship sector about the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management," stated Kim Stephens.

FLASHBACK TO 2012 (Video): River advocate, Mark Angelo, and others tell an inspiring story about salmon and the transformation of Still Creek, a long-abused urban stream in the Vancouver region – “Never give up on any river!,” says Mark Angelo

“Over many decades, people in the area have worked tirelessly to help bring the creek back to health," stated Mark Angelo, founder of World Rivers Day. “To see salmon return has been incredibly exciting, especially given that just a few decades ago, this stream was widely viewed as one of Canada’s most polluted waterways. Quite simply, the events that have unfolded on Still Creek highlight the fact that we should never give up on any river," states Mark Angelo.

FLASHBACK TO 2012: “A key challenge has been translating global climate science to local land-use decisions. The new Climate Change Module in the Water Balance Model helps overcome this obstacle,” stated Chris Jensen, Senior Policy Analyst, Government of British Columbia

“If mitigation is about CARBON, then adaptation is about WATER. Hence, being able to quickly and effectively model how the ‘water balance’ may change over time is a critical input to local government decision processes," stated Chris Jensen. " We heard from communities that they desired an easy to use tool, one that would help them understand and identify evaluate options for climate adaptation. This need served as a catalyst for development of the Climate Change Module."

FLASHBACK TO 2012: Re-built on a new platform to expand its capabilities, the ‘Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO’ is a shared legacy that resulted from a building blocks process over time

"This unique web-based tool is the shared legacy of a team of senior practitioners," stated Kim Stephens in 2012. "It is the outcome of a process that has depended on the commitment of a number of organizations, and especially the efforts of the champions within those organizations, to produce a series of deliverables that successively advanced the practice of rainwater management within British Columbia."

FLASHBACK TO 2011: Watch Philadelphia’s “Green City, Clean Waters” Video – “Changing the world, or even one small piece of, requires a lot of trial and error,” stated Howard Neukrug, the visionary behind Philadelphia’s bold plan to peel back the concrete and asphalt and replace it with green infrastructure

Philadelphia has developed a US$1.6 bllion plan to transform the city over the next 20 years. The plan reimagines the city as an oasis of rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavements, thousands of additional trees, and more. According to Howard Neukrug, the Philadelphia Water Department’s Director of the Office of Watersheds, "We are taking that (old, grey infrastructure) barrier down, and are stopping the water from ever hitting the system."

STORMCON 2017 (August 27-31): A Flood of Stormwater Management Experts to Hit the Shores of Puget Sound to Reassess Stormwater in Response to Climate Change

"The threat of extreme heat and climate change, however, remains an imminent public health risk in the Puget Sound region and across the globe. In addition to blistering heat waves, increased stormwater runoff, flooding, low flows, and drought are increasingly threatening public health and safety, as rainfall frequency, duration, and magnitude are contingent on the climate," stated Brigette Burich.

FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation is providing financial support for the Rainwater Harvesting Module to add to the capabilities of the Water Balance Model,” stated Cate Soroczan, CMHC Senior Researcher

"The early success of the Water Balance Model in British Columbia generated interest in expanding the focus of the tool to reach a national audience. This culminated in the decision by CMHC in 2004 to fund development of the national portal," stated Cate Soroczan. "The rainwater harvesting and storage component with variable sizing and demand will allow the user to optimize both the demand for potable water and the size of the physical storage."