Archive:

2015

2015: a year of extremes – Vancouver Sun newspaper editorial summarizes the year’s turbulent weather in a single paragraph


“For British Columbia, this was the year of the great drought, dwindling snow packs, melting glaciers, beleaguered salmon runs and a costly forest fire season, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. Launched from a powerful El Nino, storms caused the single largest electrical outage in the province’s history,” wrote the Vancouver Sun editorial board (chaired by Harold Munro) in a year-ending editorial.

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Australia’s Dr. Peter Coombes champions “Transitioning Drainage into Urban Water Cycle Management”


“There have been many changes in our approach to urban water management in Australia since the establishment of the centralised and separate water supply, stormwater and wastewater paradigm in the 1800s,” stated Peter Coombes. “Urban water cycle management starts with the integration of land and water planning across time horizons and spatial scales. It must be cognisant of likely advances in science and professional practice over the next 30 years.”

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CBC Poll: 2015 Drought is British Columbia’s “Top Story of the Year”


“The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is drought and flooding. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. This is putting water supply systems and ecosystems under extreme stress,” says Kim Stephens. “What you do on the land or how you treat the land has direct implications and consequences for water use.”

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Fractured Water: Can urban Ontario reconnect its watersheds?


“Within municipalities, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater are often treated as if they were completely different things. If we want to find the solution, we have to start understanding them as part of the same cycle,” says John Jackson. “We need to be planning all components of the cycle at once.Are we conveying stormwater into a pipe that is going off to a river or a lake, when it could be going back to recharge the groundwater aquifer from which we source our drinking water?”

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Reflections on the 2015 Drought: “In engineering terms, in BC we have small margins of safety for water storage and therefore limited resiliency to adapt,” says the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Kim Stephens


“In other regions, notably California, they think of droughts in terms of number of years. In Southwest BC, we measure droughts in terms of number of months. Three months versus either four or five months of essentially rain-free weather makes a material difference from a water supply perspective. The reason is that we are storage-constrained in BC. There are relatively few locations to provide seasonal storage,” stated Kim Stephens.

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Op-Ed: Water Legislation Just the First Step for British Columbia- say Oliver Brandes, Deborah Curran and Rosie Simms of the University of Victoria


“The Water Sustainability Act has much to offer, but there are still ongoing concerns,” says Rosie Simms.”While the drought of summer 2015 may now seem a distant memory with November’s torrential downpours and fresh snowfalls, B.C. must prepare for long-term future water uncertainties. Following through on implementing the Water Sustainability Act is a critical step to ensure future water challenges do not become debilitating water crises.”

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Response to a Changing Climate in British Columbia: Flood and Drought. Feast AND Famine! What Happened to the Balance?


“The workshop was about solutions and tools that are being developed in BC in response to a changing climate. Through collaboration, the Partnership mission is to support and enable practitioners and decision makers so that they can take action at a local level. The ultimate goal is to redistribute the annual water balance by protecting and/or restoring the three pathways by which rainfall reaches streams,” explains Peter Law.

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MAGAZINE ARTICLE (October 2015): “Sustainable Watershed Systems” connects dots between municipal infrastructure, water balance services, and health of watersheds


Released in December 2014, ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’ is a game-changer. “Sustainable Service Delivery is the New Paradigm. It is the singular aim. Sound Asset Management practices prevent in-service failure of assets which consequently cause service delivery interruptions. Therefore, Asset Management is the means to achieve the aim,” states David Allen.

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Can Cities Stop Runway Climate Change?


Mayors and policymakers have the power to significantly reduce the threat of climate change through the infrastructure decisions they make in the next five years. A new report by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Stockholm Environment Institute points to a hopeful path for cities and their leaders. “Our leaders are capable of acting, have acted, want to act. We might be able to buy ourselves a little time here,” says Seth Schultz.

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Restoring Watershed Health Across Boundaries in the Pittsburgh Region: Saw Mill Run Case Study


The newly formed Saw Mill Run Watershed Association is coordinating the efforts of communities in the Pittsburgh region to reduce stormwater and pollution along the 22 mile length of Saw Mill Run, with a long-term plan to open up public access to the stream. “We’re looking at greening the area, making the stream more natural and restored to reduce runoff,” states Lisa Brown.

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