Five Regional Districts representing 75% of BC’s population are partners in the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI). A program deliverable is the Beyond the Guidebook 2015. It is a progress report on how local governments are ‘learning by doing’ to implement affordable and effective science-based practices. It is the third in a series that builds on Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.
"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.
"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."
“Interflow is often the dominant drainage path in glaciated landscapes of British Columbia. Even undeveloped sites founded on till and bedrock rarely show overland flow because of interflow pathways. The lesson is that the interflow system is an incredibly important and yet fragile component of a watershed. It is critical for maintaining stream health and our fishery resource,” states Al Jonsson of DFO.
"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.
"We have moved from an age of natural abundance to the age of natural scarcity and the challenge moving forward will be to find new ways for developing, protecting, and managing healthy ecosystems. Water is critical to the survival and proliferation these ecosystems and our success depends on collective change regarding the management of this precious resource," stated Michael Florendo, Program Director.
“In considering the factors involved in global climate change, there is a need for increased attention to the role of regional, or small water cycles," wrote Jan Lambert. "Planning is required for all countries to permeate landscapes with rainfall and snowmelt to bring about the return of stable regional, small water cycles to aid in local, and ultimately global, climate recovery."
"The role of Asset Management BC is to ensure consistency of understanding and application of Sustainable Service Delivery methodologies and tools to meet the goals of the provincial policy and regulatory framework. Over time, the program led by the Partnership for Water Sustainability would support implementation of fully integrated Sustainable Service Delivery by providing the technical foundation for Sustainable Watershed Systems," wrote Wally Wells (photo) and Kim Stephens.
The 1-acre playground includes several green infrastructure elements, including specialized plantings and shade trees, porous pavement and permeable pavers, and a new synthetic turf field featuring a broken stone storage layer and perforated distribution pipes to promote infiltration. “This new playground will provide students and the broader community with a new outdoor space to learn and play,” said Carmen Fariña.
“In this special issue on a Water Balance approach to community development we explain that the natural pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are nature’s 'infrastructure assets'. They provide Water Balance Services that blend with services provided by engineered assets (infrastructure). We start out at a high level, present tools developed by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, and conclude with a watershed focus," wrote Kim Stephens.
In Detroit, the problem of rainwater management is exacerbated by the fact that the city is seated on a glacial lake plain. The soil is rich in clay, and isn’t easy for water to infiltrate. The city has pivoted to focus on green infrastructure, which can be strategically placed to mitigate localized flooding. According to Wade Rose, vacant land (66,000 parcels) creates an opportunity for environmental interventions on a large scale. “Detroit is one-of-a-kind, as far as habitat goes in the U.S.,” he said.
“In 2002, the Guidebook transformed conventional wisdom with the premise that land development and watershed protection can be compatible. This breakthrough resulted from application of science-based understanding to mitigate seasonal changes in the Water Balance. A decade and a half later, Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is similarly transformational with its premise that protecting Water Balance Services saves communities money and restores aquatic habitats!”, wrote Peter Law.
The Express helps landowners quantify how well rain gardens on their properties slow, sink and spread runoff. The Express is populated with watershed targets determined by applying the Water Balance Methodology. The flow-duration relationship is the cornerstone of the methodology. "North Vancouver District undertook the ‘proof of concept’ for Express development as an element of its Hastings Creek watershed plan. Other local government leaders have followed. Each time the tool is enhanced," wrote Richard Boase.
Even with elevated greenhouse gases, water can cool the biosphere and address destructive feedback loops in the climate system. "Water and soils are deeply connected, and many water problems are a result of land desiccated and bare due to human mismanagement. The good news is that we can turn droughts and floods around by restoring soils to health and bringing back ecosystem biodiversity. And it can happen remarkably quickly - nature celebrates life!", states Adam D. Sacks.
“The Water Balance Methodology now synthesizes fundamentals of hydrology, flood protection, aquatic ecology, geomorphology and hydrogeology," stated Jim Dumont. “The flow-duration relationship is the cornerstone of the Water Balance Methodology. By maintaining flow-duration, stream erosion is not increased during wet weather and ‘environmental flows’ are sustained during dry weather."