YOUTUBE VIDEO: “What will you do differently when you leave this room?” – during his keynote address at Stormwater 2016, Kim Stephens challenged Australian water resource practitioners to ‘convene for action’

"BC and Australia are on parallel journeys, but our pathways to a water-resilient future differ. Still, by sharing and comparing, we can inspire each other. Also, we can learn from each other’s experience to avoid going down dead-ends," stated Kim Stephens. "In embarking on the journey to a water-resilient future, we can learn from our ancestors. The foundation for cathedral thinking is a far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and long-term implementation.”

INSPIRING INNOVATION: “If British Columbia can do it, then there is no reason why we can’t do it too!,” stated Karenne Jurd, City of Newcastle (Australia), when reflecting on keynote addresses by Kim Stephens in 2001 and 2016

“In reflecting on our 2001 three day capacity building course in Newcastle, it did more than just build my capacity as a strategic natural resource planner. It fuelled my enthusiasm as an agent of change in our own 15 year journey in urban water cycle management," stated Karenne Jurd. “The window into BC water management he opened showed us ‘what was possible’. It was a seminal moment in time."

Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 Conference: “We will all need to work together to develop the solutions of the future,” stated Andrew Allan in his ‘Message from the President’

"The modern stormwater industry seeks to balance traditional issues with emerging priorities which are being placed on our infrastructure. Practitioners are experienced in working at the coal face," stated Andrew Allan. "The growing need to work in multidisciplinary teams, to lead and influence, to understand and assimilate different points of view and technical requirements, will be core skills required in the future."

Rising to the Challenge Conference: Stormwater Australia announced trio of inspirational keynote speakers – Kim Stephens, Rachel Robertson and Michael Groom – for Stormwater16

Julie McGraw, acting on behalf of Stormwater Australia, announced the three inspirational keynote speakers for STORMWATER 2016. She highlighted that the three were invited to provide different forms of inspiration: Kim Stephens as a pioneer and champion in leading technical change; Rachel Robertson as leader of Australia's Antartic Research Expedition to Davis Station; and Michael Groom for demonstrating perseverance under life-threatening conditions.

KEYNOTE ABSTRACT (KIM STEPHENS): Parallel Journeys to a Resilient Future: Water Cycle / Water Balance Approaches in Australia and British Columbia – 2001 to 2016 and Beyond

"A commonality of understanding between BC and Australia is that we are managing a water balance in a connected system of human endeavour and ecosystem processes. This is a shared discovery. Systems analysis of water balances is a key shared process. Integration of urban planning and water resources management is a key issue," observed Dr. Peter Coombes, Australian water champion and advisor to governments, when he reviewed the Abstract for the keynote by Kim Stephens.

Three ‘big ideas’ underpin BC vision for “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”: Primacy of Hydrology, Shifting Baseline Syndrome and Cathedral Thinking

The ideas presented by Kim Stephens resonated with the Australian audience and opened eyes and minds to a different way of thinking. Rod Wiese, member of the Stormwater Australia Board, provided this perspective: “Australian ‘best practise’ (which is founded on water quality metrics) falls dramatically short of effective waterway protection. Clearly, we need to manage volume and restore water balance pathways as Kim Stephens explained in his keynote about the primacy of hydrology.”

FLASHBACK TO 2001: Urban Water Cycle Management Capacity Building Program – Australian local governments in Hunter Valley region of New South Wales looked to British Columbia precedents for inspiration

Under the leadership of Meredith Laing, the Lower Hunter & Central Coast Regional Environmental Strategy is e a model for Local Government collaboration in Australia. In 2001, she invited Kim Stephens to share his British Columbia experience related to overcoming barriers to implementation ("fear and doubt") and implementing an ecosystem-based approach to stormwater management. It was a seminal moment.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – interviews with thought leaders across Australia set the context for reflections on “Parallel Journeys to a Water-Resilient Future”

Coined by Dr. Daniel Pauly in 1995, the Shifting Baseline Syndrome refers to a gradual change in the accepted norm for ecological conditions. This was the first of three 'big ideas' introduced to the Stormwater Australia audience. “Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss," stated Daniel Pauly.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – a changing climate has resulted in “The New Normal in British Columbia” (Module 1)

The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. What is changing is how and when water arrives. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” states Bob Sandford.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Rising to the Challenge at Stormwater Australia 2016 – going back to basics to provide a common understanding of “Water Balance 101” (Module 2)

In the 1990s, transformational research by Richard Horner and Chris May taught practitioners that 'changes in hydrology', not water quality, must be the primary focus of their efforts. “When I look back, and reflect on how we saw things at the time, I offer this hindsight: the significance of our research findings was in gaining recognition of the 'primacy of hydrology'. Until then, it was all about water quality," states Richard Horner, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington (Seattle).