“This study explores the genuine desire to protect and enhance urban waterways through whole of water cycle measures having wide ranging benefits to community health and climate change resilience,” wrote Rod Wiese in a conference paper titled Why Best Practice is Destroying Our Waterways. “Clearly, we need to manage volume and restore water balance pathways as Kim Stephens explained in his keynote at Stormwater 2016 about the primacy of hydrology.”
"The genesis of this approach lies at the point where rainfall strikes an urban environment surface, where it can be captured via rooftop gardens and water tanks under a notion of retaining water as opposed to having it wash away," says John Argue. "Water which is not captured by these practices can potentially be infiltrated into the soil or be channelled through vegetated bio retention systems or rainwater gardens."
Inspired by a ground-breaking campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in the Seattle/Puget Sound region of Washington State, a multi-partner initiative is now underway in British Columbia to build support for a similar rain garden vision in the Metro Vancouver region. “On the North Shore, we can learn from the experience in the Puget Sound region and from the green infrastructure initiatives that are taking place at the municipal level,” states Dr. Joanna Ashworth.
“The Canadians do appear to be ahead of the US in this field because the US EPA took a really bad approach to LID that was based on the premise that enforcing every site to the same standard would somehow fix the problems of water quality in the US,” commented Paul Crabtree. “The USA EPA approach has done some good, but has several crippling drawbacks."
"Instead of expanding our infrastructure, we put together a plan to price, value, reuse, recycle, infiltrate, transpire or otherwise manage, every drop of rainwater we could. We started to invent the millions of ways to reduce the amount of rainwater that arrived at our sewer inlets. The goal was to consider rainwater as a commodity and a resource—if it enters a sewer drain it becomes a costly waste product," explained Howard Neukrug.
At a Special Meeting held in October 2011, the Metro Vancouver Board amended the 2012 Budget to include a grant for the Water Balance Model / Express. “Metro Vancouver has contributed $50,000 to fund further enhancement of the Water Balance Model because widespread use of this decision tool will help Metro Vancouver and members fulfil our regulatory commitments, in particular those related to integrated rainwater management,” stated Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, Board Chair.
At the Surrey Forum, Remi Dubé provided an historical perspective on how drainage planning in Surrey has evolved since the 1970s, and how key neighbourhoods embody the Surrey sustainability vision. "There is a fundamental difference between Surrey and other Metro Vancouver municipalities,” stated Remi Dubé. “Surrey has moved beyond pilot projects; we are moving to a broader watershed objectives approach to capturing rain where it falls to protect our streams.”
The inspiration for “Peeling Back the Pavement” was a report titled Re-Inventing Rainwater Management: A Strategy to Protect Health and Restore Resources in the Capital Region. "Environmental and stream health problems in the Capital Region are the legacy of an obsolete 19th century stormwater management system—a system that fails to respect natural systems and water cycles,” states Calvin Sandborn.
A value-added dimension to the SmartStorm Forum Series was the involvement of elected representatives. Mayor Barry Janyk of the Town of Gibsons was the moderator for the last three in the series. "The response to the SmartStorm Forum Series was simply overwhelming," recalls Mayor Janyk,
"Local governments bear the entire financial burden to stabilize watercourses impacted by increased runoff volume after land is developed. The challenge is to think about what infrastructure asset management entails BEFORE an asset is proposed and incorporated in a municipality’s capital plan," states Ray Fung.
A scenario comparison tool to assess green infrastructure effectiveness, achieve a lighter 'water footprint' and protect stream health. Learn More
The Water Conservation Calculator illustrates how specific water conservation measures can yield both fiscal and physical water savings for communities. Learn More
This Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
This Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
The BC Agriculture Water Calculator enables water licensing for all irrigation purposes, whether agricultural or landscape. All non-domestic users of groundwater in BC are required to obtain a licence. Learn More