"Water-centric planning means planning with a view to water – whether for a single site or the entire province. At the core of the approach is a water balance way-of-thinking and acting. The underpinning premise is that resource, land use and community design decisions will be made with an eye towards their potential impact on the watershed," explains Kim Stephens.
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 and is the genesis of "water-centric planning".
A University of Washington report has found that the blob — a warm ocean area roughly the size of the continental U.S. — has gone, but should appear again every five years or less. “It was a pretty unusual event which no one predicted. In the future, we can expect more,” said Hillary Scannell, who co-authored a recent study of Pacific Ocean temperatures for a 65-year period dating back to 1950.
“The work of the Partnership is supporting the Province’s Living Water Smart vision and Green Communities initiative,” wrote Wes Shoemaker. “Other partnership capacity-building tools and resources developed by the Partnership, such as the Water Balance Model for BC and Water Conservation Calculator, are helping to build community resilience and align well with the goals of both the Water Sustainability Act and the Climate Leadership Plan.”
For British Columbians, 2015 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. “2015 ranks with 2003 as a defining teachable year. Lessons learned will inform how local governments move forward with a ‘water balance’ approach to rainwater management, protection of watershed function and land servicing,” observes Kim Stephens.
“For the first time in B.C., groundwater is now regulated which means that the province is now managing surface water and groundwater as exactly what they are: one interconnected resource,” states Oliver Brandes. “The coming into force of the Water Sustainability Act is only one part of the long journey to a truly substantial, sustainable water law regime. The very best tools in the new Act’s tool box to protect water for nature are still being developed."
For British Columbians, 2015 was the year of the great drought, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. “We put systems in place thinking things are going to be stable. Now we realize that we’re going to have more ups and downs, and on a more frequent basis," states Steve Conrad. "Appreciating the unforeseeable means we should be prepared to reduce water use, consider alternative water supplies, capture any rain we do receive, and protect vulnerable ecosystems and important water uses during drought periods."
In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. "This promises to be the most comprehensive and inclusive effort to positively change the world in all of human history. This may well be the most important thing we have ever done for ourselves and for our planet,." stated Bob Sandford.
In April 2016, the Environmental Managers Association of BC hosted a session about the 2015 Drought. “Three speakers will present on different aspects of water scarcity and connect the dots to the Water Sustainability Act. Oliver Brandes will describe his vision of what a world-class regulatory system can look like in B.C. Steve Conrad will elaborate on climate change science. Kim Stephens will explain what needs to be done to restore the water balance in urban areas," announced Stephanie Voysey.
In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “The vital importance of water and water-related trade-offs with climate policy has largely been ignored to date. At first glance, water plays no role in the Paris agreement. Upon closer examination, however, we see that climate policy will have far-reaching implications for the availability of water and vice versa,” wrote Ines Dombrowsky.
"Recognition of the risks we face offers Canadians the opportunity to direct policies and investment in ways that support a more resilient future... we can draw upon a variety of tools located at different levels of government and authority," says Mike Harcourt. "Ingenuity in how we fund and incentivize resilient, green infrastructure development is essential, starting now. Part of adapting to climate change means adjusting the way governments make decisions, and create policies."
“Future planners, engineers, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism and be able to frame the issue of achieving water-resiliency in communities against the backdrop of an unpredictable water cycle. This in turn demands the honing of a further skill, that of working together towards consensus, commitment and collaboration," stated Eric Bonham.