"The paradigm-shift is that watersheds are managed as ‘infrastructure assets’ that provide ‘water balance services’," states Kim Stephens. The driver for using the Water Balance family of tools is this desired outcome: restore watershed hydrology and re-set the ecological baseline." Adopted by the Province in 2002, the Water Balance Methodology is the hydrology foundation for development of tools for different users at different scales and purposes.
"The BC Framework encourages local governments to manage their natural assets in the same way they manage their hard engineered assets. The program goals for the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative are aligned with this strategic direction. Successful implementation provincewide of 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management', would represent an evolution in how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented and maintained in British Columbia,” stated Minister Fassbender.
“The CVRD has been an active partner for over ten years and has benefited from the tools, professional development and working relationships made possible through our membership in the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC," stated Jon Lefebure. "The IREI enables local governments to leverage resources for common activities such as education, research and policy development.”
“The IREI was launched in 2012. A year ago regional district partners recommitted through 2021. The current IREI program focus and goal is: Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management," stated Ted van der Gulik. "Presently, we are creating awareness. Early uptake of the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems has exceeded our expectations. There is clearly interest and an appetite to learn more. It is an idea whose time has come."
Provincial programs provide direction as to where the Province wants to go with Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative. “While legislative reform is a foundation piece, collaboration takes place outside the legislative framework. At the end of the day, planners and engineers and other disciplines must come together to determine the issues and solutions. No statute will help them do that. Influencing behaviour and attitudes is at the heart of moving from awareness to action," stated Lynn Kriwoken.
“The Water Balance Forum was the kick-off for an inter-regional education initiative to be implemented in four regions over several years. Sharing of experiences, collaboration, alignment and a consistent approach on Vancouver Island will allow everyone to go farther, more efficiently and effectively,” stated Kate Miller. “Our emphasis will be on “targets and criteria”, lessons learned, and practices necessary to protect stream health.”
"The twin pillars of the IREI are the Water Balance Methodology and Ecological Accounting Protocol," stated Kim Stephens. "The Methodology links actions at the site scale with desired outcomes at a watershed scale. The new paradigm is that watersheds are infrastructure assets. Local governments would use the Ecological Accounting Protocol to develop a more complete financial picture. It is a method of ascertaining economic value of services drawn from natural assets."
North Vancouver City is a case study for a UBC design course on integration of landscape architecture into urban rainwater management strategies. "The lecture by Kim Stephens was excellent and well-paced," stated Daniel Roehr, Associate Professor. "He provided clarity regarding a course objective, which is to design at different scales, using the reverse design strategy, site and details first before urban and regional scale."
"The emphasis in using the Ecological Accounting Protocol (EAP) would be on adaptive management design, rather than a prescriptive approach," stated Kim Stephens. "The essence of EAP is that 'Optimum Infrastructure Design = Watershed Health'. Optimum implies preserving hydrologic integrity plus achieving best opportunity-cost outcomes in the long-term. The watershed defines what goes into EAP."
The Municipal Engineering Division invited Kim Stephens to make a presentation on Sustainable Watershed Systems at the 2016 APEGBC Annual Conference. "We then invited Kim Stephens to write an article for Innovation magazine that would help spread word about his presentation, as well as provide a sneak peek for conference attendees," states Monique Kieran. "The article serves as a proceedings article for the conference presentation.”
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