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Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia

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 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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MILESTONE RECOGNITION – ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ has proven to be a catalyst for action over the past decade


“The Guidebook applied a science-based understanding, developed the water balance methodology to establish performance targets, and demonstrated that urban watershed restoration could be accomplished over a 50-year timeframe as and when communities redevelop,” states Peter Law, Guidebook Chair (2000 – 2002). A decade ago, looking at rainfall differently led the Province of BC to develop the Water Balance Methodology, and initiate a paradigm-shift in the way rainwater is managed. BC was the first provincial or state government in North America to implement the Water Balance Methodology.

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Rainwater Management: An Introduction to the Guidebook for British Columbia


Written for both expert and non-expert audiences, the document explains how the Guidebook provides a transition into ‘Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual’. “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward. We have to build regulatory models and develop models of practice and expertise,” stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister

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Watershed / Landscape-based Approach to Community Planning


Published in March 2002 by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the “Watershed / Landscape-Based Approach to Community Planning” was developed by an interdisciplinary working group. “At the heart of the approach is an adaptable 10-step methodology that facilitates planning with reference to watershed-based features,” reports Erik Karlsen, a primary author of the document. ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ is a prime application of the watershed / landscape-based approach. In the Guidebook context, what happens at the scale of the individual parcel and street affects what happens at the watershed scale.

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Metro Vancouver Develops Design Guidelines to Complement Water Balance Model


“Our focus was on the technical details of practices in landscape areas that treat rainwater through plant materials and soils by infiltration, retention, detention and evapotranspiration”, states Ed von Euw. “The objective of this project was to reduce information barriers that previously stood in the way of effective implementation of rainwater source controls.”

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Released in 2002, ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ has proven to be a catalyst for action


When it was released, the Guidebook was a catalyst for action to implement a ‘design with nature’ approach to rainwater management and green infrastructure. “The premise underpinning the Guidebook was that land development and watershed protection can be compatible. The basis for this premise was that municipalities exert control over runoff volume through their land development and infrastructure policies, practices and actions,” states Peter Law. “The Guidebook applied a science-based understanding to develop the water balance methodology and establish performance targets.”

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Template for Integrated Stormwater Management Planning in the Metro Vancouver Region


The ISMP Template provides a standardized process that includes all of the key components for rainwater and stormwater management. These are categorized in terms of three disciplines – engineering, planning and environmental. “A municipality can decide which components are applicable, and can establish the level of effort required based on risk and local conditions. Not all of the components may be relevant for a given watershed or drainage catchment,” states Robert Hicks.

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Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia (released in 2002)


Founded on British Columbia case study experience, the Guidebook formalized a science-based understanding to set performance targets for reducing rainwater runoff volumes and rates. These targets represent the synthesis of biological and hydrological understanding. Structured to meet the information needs of different audiences, the Guidebook formalized the ‘Integrated Strategy for Managing the Complete Spectrum of Rainfall Events’,

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