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Success Stories: Rainwater Champions & Innovators

PHILADELPHIA’S BOLD PLAN: Green City, Clean Waters – an inter-generational commitment to “optimize and engineer the landscape” to mimic and restore its natural hydrologic regime!


Philadelphia hopes by the mid-2030s to create the largest green stormwater infrastructure in the United States. Nancy Stoner says the program was never solely about slashing combined sewer overflow, but also about providing larger environmental and social benefits. “Philadelphia wanted to do much more,” Stoner says. “They did a benefits analysis before they began that showed it would enhance air quality and climate resiliency. It takes the problem of stormwater and turns it into an amenity.”

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CHANGING THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS: “The reality is that stormwater management has become an increasingly complex and multi-dimensional challenge,” wrote Glen Parker, North Shore Streamkeepers, in an opinion piece about rainwater management in Metro Vancouver’s North Shore region


“Perhaps because rain is thought of as a force of rejuvenation and renewal, we often neglect to think about how stormwater can actually endanger our ecosystems and fish populations across the North Shore,” wrote Glen Parker. “Protection of our local watershed starts with understanding the time and route that water takes to get into a stream. In our increasingly urban landscape, the growing presence of impervious surfaces means that massive quantities of stormwater are entering drainage systems.”

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Towards a Water-Resilient Future (Video): Released by the Senate of Berlin in August 2017, the plan “StEP Klima KONKRET” seeks to mimic nature and tackle extreme conditions by making Berlin a “Sponge City”


Heat waves and rainstorms will become common in northern Germany as climate change deepens. To make Berlin more resilient and livable in the coming future, Berlin’s infrastructure is being redesigned to solve drainage and heat problems as climate change accelerates. Rummelsberg, built 20 years ago in east Berlin, has become a large-scale example of the Sponge City concept. Heiko Seiker is the brains behind the neighbourhood’s innovative use of rainwater as a resource.

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STORMCON 2017 (August 27-31): A Flood of Stormwater Management Experts to Hit the Shores of Puget Sound to Reassess Stormwater in Response to Climate Change


“The threat of extreme heat and climate change, however, remains an imminent public health risk in the Puget Sound region and across the globe. In addition to blistering heat waves, increased stormwater runoff, flooding, low flows, and drought are increasingly threatening public health and safety, as rainfall frequency, duration, and magnitude are contingent on the climate,” stated Brigette Burich.

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Use the Rain, Reduce the Runoff in Whatcom County (Washington State)


“Given that you can’t have everybody move out of the watershed, that’s where low impact development and managing rainwater onsite comes into play,” CJ Huxford explained. “About 25-35 percent of the water you use indoors gets flushed down the toilet or is used in your cold water laundry. So the philosophy is that if you have more people in the watershed with toilet flushing systems, there is a lot of potential cost savings.”

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Celebrating Green Infastructure in the Metro Vancouver Region: “The goal of the inaugural Showcasing Innovation Series in 2006 was to build regional capacity in local government to design with nature," stated Paul Ham, (former) Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership


“The 2006 Showcasing Innovation Series was a provincial pilot. When we talked to practitioners in local government, it doesn’t matter what the region, the message was the same…they tell us that they are too busy to communicate with their colleagues in neighbouring municipalities. Yet the irony is that there is much to learn by sharing information with each other. At the end of the day, it seems that it takes a third party to bring people together,” stated Paul Ham.

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FLASHBACK TO 2006: “The Design with Nature Game Show is a way of having some fun at the start of the Water Balance Model training workshop. It loosens the group up. It gets them thinking about how to use the tool,” explained Richard Boase


The Design with Nature Game Show was one of the features of the training workshop hosted by UBC-Okanagan University.“It is fascinating to see how excited and ‘into it’ people get after a few minutes. The irony is that the grand prize is one hour of personal tutoring by me by phone. Just imagine what they would be like if there was a real prize! It just goes to show how important it is to make a computer modeling workshop fun. If people have fun, they will get more out of the day and perhaps some of the philosophical stuff will actually stick,” stated Richard Boase.

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RainReady program in USA is designed to bridge "a disconnect between information and action", said Harriet Festing, Center for Neighborhood Technology


“Through our years of research and advocacy on water management issues, we realized that there was something of a disconnect between information and action. Rain Ready seeks to close that gap by making it easier for homeowners, businesses, and government leaders to create Rain Ready plans,” said Harriet Festing. The Rain Ready website features videos and how-to factsheets that show rain readiness in action.

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Aricles in the Green Infrastructure & Community Design Series were an outcome of the StormCon 2010 Conference, explained Janice Kasperson, editor, Stormwater magazine


“Several presentations dealt with stormwater management in a larger community context. Several of the speakers expressed interest in writing articles on the topic for Stormwater magazine. This initiated the idea that became our Green Infrastructure & Community Design Series. Colorado-based engineer Paul Crabtree coordinated the effort,” stated Janice Kasperson.

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