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.
"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.
“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.
“The Water Balance Methodology is based upon watershed and stream function and operation. Understanding how precipitation makes its way to the stream allow us to assess how a watershed and stream operates and to analytically demonstrate impacts of development and the effectiveness of any mitigation works," states Jim Dumont. “The Methodology provides solutions with verifiable results and where mitigation systems optimized for cost and function."
Commencing in 2003, consistent and repeated use of the phrase ‘design with nature’ has proven effective in facilitating a paradigm-shift in the local government setting. The phrase is borrowed from the title of a seminal book by Ian McHarg, published in 1969. His book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning. Ian McHarg’s premise is simple: “that the shaping of land for human use ought to be based on an understanding of natural process.”
“GI/LID is used already to protect water quality and stream health. In addition to these environmental benefits, the study shows that GI can enhance community resilience to flood hazards. We are working with other Federal agencies to identify synergies and opportunities for collaboration,” stated Lisa Hair. "GI can reduce flood losses when applied watershed-wide as a co-benefit to the primary objective of water quality protection."
Communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable precipitation to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. It has been difficult even for experts to grasp the extent of what the loss of relative hydrological stability means. "When EMA hosted a session about the 2015 drought, Kim Stephens explained what needs to be done to restore the water balance in urban areas," stated Stephanie Voysey, EMA Vice-President (Education).
"The Water Balance Express tool is an example of how science can be translated into a meaningful form to help inform non-scientists on how to contribute to positive change. The video tutorial is helpful in demonstrating how the addition of the 'Lego blocks' can improve the stream health score," states Julie Wilson. “The tool allows people to think about water in a different way, by conceptualizing how it behaves as it moves on and around their property."
“Research has demonstrated the water quality and channel protection benefits of GI; however, the effect of reducing the severity of flood events has not been investigated at a watershed level," said Dr. Dan Medina. "The EPA posed this question – would the combined effect of thousands of rain gardens designed to capture relatively small volumes of runoff lead to a significant reduction in flood risk? The answer to this question is YES.”
"Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is a milestone accomplishment, and was made possible with provincial funding assistance,” wrote Wes Shoemaker. "The ministry acknowledges that the Partnership is also adding depth to the Guidebook through the Beyond the Guidebook Report Series and the Beyond the Guidebook Primer Series. The work of the Partnership is supporting the Province’s Living Water Smart vision and Green Communities initiative."
"The presentation by Kim Stephens gave further insight into how thinking has evolved regarding stormwater management in our region and elsewhere. His discussion of Voodoo Hydrology reinforced the importance of questioning everything, a habit I try to encourage in my students," stated Laith Furatian. The term was coined by Andy Reese, an American engineer and writer, in 2006 to describe the mis-application of science.
"It is evident that there are many champions in local government; and it is important that we recognize and celebrate what they are doing. This is all part of creating our future. And when we ask ‘what will this community look like in 50 years’, we can point to the green infrastructure examples and then we will know what it will look like in 50 years," stated Mayor Lois Jackson.