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British Columbia Guidance Documents

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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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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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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FLASHBACK TO 2010: “A crucially important message in Beyond the Guidebook 2010 is that we now have the tools and experience to design with nature,” said Richard Boase


“So many of us in local government are still searching for the magical ‘silver bullet’ that with the stroke of a pen will resolve all our watershed issues and challenges while at the same time stimulate economic activity and accommodate growth. While the search continues, it is important to note that the practical solution is around us everywhere, and is staring right at us: Soil, vegetation and trees can do more for our watersheds than decades of planning, consulting and complicated engineering design will ever achieve,” stated Richard Boase.

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FLASHBACK TO 2002: Build a Vision, Create a Legacy – which is the Tenth Paradigm on Andy Reese’s Stormwater Management Continuum – is the guiding philosophy for "Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia"


“We can begin to think about the Tenth Paradigm as one involving making decisions aimed at achieving healthy urban watersheds,” wrote Robert Hicks. “Deciding what we want means we start with a common understanding and a shared vision of the future Target Condition for a healthy watershed. Having a Target Condition provides a direction for the long-term processes of change. An Action Plan then provides a ‘road map’ for getting there over time. This ‘road map’ approach addresses the goal of protecting people, natural systems and property; and then over time striving to move impacted watersheds towards a healthier condition.”

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First article published about Beyond the Guidebook: "Stormwater Management: A Discipline in Transition" (2006)


“Experience has taught engineers that we must always be learning, stretching the bounds of expertise, and anticipating new requirements,” wrote Jim Dumont. “We will be able to advance the science and engineering practice in a manner intended by the author and proponents of the Guidebook. Is it time to now go ‘Beyond the Guidebook’? Do we have the knowledge to allow us to do this? The answer to both questions should be yes.”

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GUIDANCE DOCUMENT – Sustainable Watershed Systems: Primer on Application of Ecosystem-based Understanding in the Georgia Basin


“An interface is needed to translate the complex products of science into achievable goals and implementable solution for practical resource management. This interface is what we now call a science-based understanding,” stated Peter Law. “Understanding how land development impacts watershed hydrology and the functions of aquatic ecosystems provides a solid basis for making decisions to guide action where and when it is most needed.”

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"Beyond the Guidebook 2015" introduced at BC conference hosted by Canadian Water Resources Association (Nov 2015)


“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.

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