ARTICLE: “Early uptake of the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems has exceeded our expectations,” wrote Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Winter 2017)

"At the dawn of 2017, the purpose of this article is two-fold: take stock of our progress in 2016 to inform and educate; and foreshadow where we may be at year-end," stated Kim Stephens. "Other regions recognize BC as a leader. They perceive BC moving in the right direction with integration of watershed systems thinking and asset management. International exposure allows us to judge how BC stacks up against the rest of the world."

“Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” – local stream stewardship volunteers may yet be the difference-maker

The influence of community-based community groups is expanding beyond the creek channel. “The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values,” states David Stapley. “With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices.”

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.

Pittsburgh’s Green & Clean Plan: “This is a COMPREHENSIVE approach to address the root of the problem and not just one of the problems,” stated Mayor Bill Peduto

"The draft City-Wide Green First Plan will guide where green infrastructure will be installed to achieve the most cost-effective and beneficial results to the residents of Pittsburgh," stated Mayor Bill Peduto. "The draft plan analyzed 13,700 acres in the City and proposes to manage runoff from 1,835 acres with green infrastructure over the next twenty years. “Going ‘Green First’ means improving the resiliency of our communities to disaster during extreme weather."

Leadership & Innovation in Victoria: “Creation of the Stormwater Utility and Rainwater Rewards Program is a significant milestone in a journey that leads to a water-resilient future,” wrote Kim Stephens in an Op-Ed for Victoria Times-Colonist

"It took generations to short-circuit the water balance in Victoria. Similarly, it would take generations of landowners incorporating rain gardens in redeveloped properties in order to mimic the function of natural systems, and restore the water balance while meeting their drainage needs," observed Kim Stephens. "The phrase 'cathedral thinking' aptly describes the long-term commitment that would be required to achieve the City’s design with nature vision for sustainable rainwater management."

YOUTUBE VIDEO: The Well-Tempered City – use nature instead of the brute force of steel and concrete to mitigate flooding and harmful runoff, advocates visionary Jonathan Rose

Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament” as a way to achieve harmony, Jonathan Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. He advocates using green infrastructure to mitigate damage from destructive storms. "What's so compelling about natural systems solutions is that they not only save costs but also improve the quality of life," he contends.

DEBUNKING VOODOO HYDROLOGY: “The rise of Green Infrastructure and Resilience Planning opens the door for newer Voodoo like never before,” observes Andy Reese, water resources engineer and author

Andy Reese coined the term Voodoo Hydrology in 2006 to describe the misapplication of science that characterizes stormwater management practice. "Perhaps, if we make enough estimates of enough factors, the errors in estimation, high and low, will average out to the right answer. This is where voodoo really comes in handy. The good news is that, as Dr. Tom Debo says, 'Who can prove you are wrong?' Well, the Omniscient Being can, but is probably busy elsewhere," says Andy Reese.

NEWS FROM DOWN UNDER: Australia in need of fresh approaches toward urban drainage and urban design

City of Melbourne Councillor Aaron Wood nominated water sensitive urban design as a means by which to manage flood and other risks as a critical part of the city’s push to become more sustainable. Melbourne and other Australian cities had in the past been excessively reliant upon large scale engineering solutions to flood risk management, taking an approach that required the construction of large drainage systems beneath city streets, said Wood.

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."