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Rainwater Management

Download British Columbia guidance documents. Learn about the guiding philosophy and tools for implementing ‘sustainable watershed systems, through asset management’. Be inspired by success stories. Understand why it is necessary to manage the complete spectrum of ‘rainfall days’ in a year, preserve or replicate the pathways by which water reaches streams, and so mimic flow-duration distribution. The emphasis herein is on the drainage runoff side of the Water Balance distribution.

Latest Posts

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 is designed to eliminate the root cause of negative ecological and property impacts of rainwater runoff by addressing the complete spectrum of rainfall events. The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional ‘flows-and-pipes’ stormwater management.”

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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.

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FLASHBACK TO 2002: “The Guidebook premise that land development and watershed protection can be compatible represented a radical shift in thinking in 2002. It opened the door to implementing a regulatory approach to designing with nature,” stated Kim Stephens, Guidebook project manager & principal author


“Published in 2002, ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ was a catalyst for change that resulted in BC achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management,” stated Kim Stephens. In addition to Adaptive Management, the Guidebook introduced two innovations. The first was the concept of an Integrated Strategy for managing all the ‘rainfall-days’ that occur each year. The second innovation was the concept of performance targets for managing the rainfall spectrum.

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “An educational goal is that those who are involved in municipal land use and drainage would understand the vision for ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’,” stated Kim Stephens, keynote speaker at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


“Part of that is the paradigm-shift to recognize watersheds as infrastructure assets,” stated Kim Stephens. “Whether you use the word deficit or liability, the significance is that we don’t have the money to refinance or replace our existing core infrastructure such as water, sewer or roads. So, a simple challenge to a municipal councillor or regional board member is: Why would you take on another unfunded liability called drainage – which is what you have been doing for a lifetime!”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) Initiative, at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


“The worth of a creekshed is a package of ecological services made possible by the hydrology. These inter-dependent ecological systems provide uses we call nature; examples are wetlands, ponds, riparian areas, woodlands, habitat for flora and fauna, etc. These systems add appeal and quality to parks, greenways, trails, as well as opportunities to focus on natural processes such as salmon spawning and nesting sites,” stated Tim Pringle. “The next step is doing. A strategy is the path to success.”

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SPONGE CITIES: “It’s important to make friends with water. We can make a water protection system a living system,” stated Kongjian Yu, the landscape architect who is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design


Kongjian Yu is best known for his “sponge cities”. President Xi Jinping and his government have adopted sponge cities as an urban planning and eco-city template. “The mottos of the sponge city are: Retain, adapt, slow down and reuse,” stated Kongjian Yu. “Based on thousands of years of Chinese wisdom, the first strategy is to contain water at the origin, when the rain falls from the sky on the ground. We have to keep the water.” Yu’s designs aim to build resilience in cities faced with rising sea levels, droughts and floods.

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FLASHBACK TO 2003: “To provide a feedback loop for the Stormwater Planning Guidebook, the Regional District of Nanaimo developed and applied the At-Risk Methodology through a knowledge-based approach,” stated John Finnie, former General Manager of Environmental Services


“The most effective and affordable way to identify at-risk watersheds for priority action is to tap the knowledge of people within any regional district or municipality who have the necessary planning, ecology and engineering knowledge,” stated John Finnie. “If the right people with the right knowledge are involved at the start, a knowledge-based approach will be both time-efficient and cost-effective. Priority action should be focused in at-risk drainage catchments where there is both high pressure for land use change and a driver for action.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2003: “Chilliwack’s Design Criteria Manual for Surface Water Management was a feedback loop for the province’s Stormwater Guidebook,” said Dipak Basu, Land Development Engineer


The City of Chillwack’s Manual was developed through an inter-departmental and inter-agency process that also included community participation. “Through this process, the group developed a common understanding regarding core concepts. This resulted in consensus on the vision and the direction of the Manual, particularly with respect to the framework that the Manual provides for future rainwater-related action in the City of Chilliwack,” stated Dipak Basu.

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FLASHBACK TO 2003: “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection,” wrote Geoff Gilliard in an article published by Input Magazine


“Many local governments are under pressure to protect streamside property that is threatened by stormwater development,” wrote Geoff Gilliard. “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection. The Guidebook offers a new approach to stormwater management that eliminates the root cause of ecological and property impacts by designing for the complete spectrum of rainfall events.”

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Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre – a new jewel in the crown of Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system


“The addition of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre will offer education and grassroots engagement on the critical importance of watershed stewardship and environmental sustainability,” said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee, at the official opening. “We are thrilled to officially open this Centre in Maple Ridge for the enjoyment of all Metro Vancouver residents and visitors.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2010 FROM RAIN TO RESOURCE WORKSHOP: “The Water Balance Model allows the user to quickly establish the existing base line that will become the standard used to measure the performance of future development scenarios,” stated Jim Dumont


“The WBM embeds land use zoning from municipal member partners, soil calculator and a new calculation engine QUALHYMO utilizing the Environment Canada climate data that includes rainfall, snow, temperature and evaporation. The easy access and calculation speed combined with the embedded data and information allows the user to easily and effectively plan and design green infrastructure techniques which will achieve the vision and objectives established for the Site, the Development, or Watershed,” stated Jim Dumont.

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