Waterbucket Blog

What the “Whole-System, Water Balance Approach” means for Lowland Drainage in BC

The ARDA program (Agriculture Rural Development Agreement) of the 1960’s and early 1970’s was a Federal and Provincial capital projects program that funded rural agriculture development. This program was followed by ARDSA (Agriculture Rural Development Subsidiary Agreement) in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. “The province established a set of criteria which determined the level of drainage improvements that were deemed to be acceptable in terms of cost-benefit, and the ability to pay. These have come to be known as ARDSA criteria,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “The ARDSA criteria were used to determine the capacity of drainage ditches and pump stations for all ARDA and ARDSA projects that were approved for funding.

Collaboration to Action — Leadership and Investment in Canada’s Blue Economy

The 8th annual Canadian Water Summit is in Toronto on June 22. As Canadians celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary since Confederation, delegates will explore opportunities to collaborate on water technology and infrastructure finance, “blue economy” growth and climate change resilience through progressive policies, smart business and bold investment leadership. Dan Krause will be speaking at the Canadian Water Summit as part of the panel session titled 'From Zero to Hero: The Journey of Sustainable Resource Management'. “Conserving our freshwaters can only happen with the support of businesses and corporations. It is their leadership that can shift market forces from loss and overuse, to conservation and sustainability," stated Dan Krause.

Inter-regional collaboration: Vancouver Island regional districts share successes and challenges in protecting water resources

In April, staff from the three mid-Vancouver Island regional districts met in Duncan. Their primary purpose in meeting was to inform and educate the Cowichan Valley Regional Board about a range of approaches to watershed management functions and watershed protection plans on Vancouver Island. “The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and Comox Valley presentations to our Regional Board were of high quality and relevant. Board members were fully engaged. A common thread was collaboration and bringing all parties to the table. Learning from each other is motivating and powerful,” stated Brian Carruthers. "Those regions provide a range of experience that we can learn from: the RDN has a true region-wide service function; and Comox Valley has a watershed-based service."

WEBINAR OPPORTUNITY / “Whole-System, Water Balance Approach” / are you curious? / then register today for the webcast!

The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is partnering with Forester University to share, via webinar, the innovation and experience that has resulted in the whole-system, water balance approach that is the hydrologic modelling foundation for 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management'. “We will explore how application of the Water Balance Methodology provides an effective way to assess potential impacts resulting from urban development, by allowing a modeller to accurately mimic streamflow and duration in urban infrastructure design," states Jim Dumont. Over the next 3 years, the May 2nd webinar will be readily accessible as a webcast. The net effect will be to expand the reach of the Partnership to inform and educate land and water practitioners about the benefits of a whole-system, water balance approach.

Sustainable Watershed Systems in British Columbia: IREI program goal is to embed ‘state-of-the-art’ hydrology in engineering ‘standard practice’

"Use of the Water Balance family of methods and tools will help local governments bring state-of-the-art hydrology into engineering standard practice,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “Our objective is to make it easy for local governments to establish, require and implement Water Balance performance targets. The methods and tools exist. It is a matter of enhancing them to support EAP (Ecological Accounting Protocol) plus expand their use. For example, the Online Watershed Assessment Tool is a means to an end: restore watershed hydrology and re-set the ecological baseline. To influence standards of practice, however, we must first open minds. The Online Watershed Assessment Tool will help us open the minds of technically advanced modellers."

WEBINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Protecting Urban Watersheds and Stream Health (on May 2 at 11am PDT / 2pm EDT)

The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is partnering with Forester University to share, via webinar, the innovation and experience that has resulted in the whole-system, water balance approach that is the hydrologic modelling foundation for 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management'. “Collaboration with Forester University means the Partnership will have created an online teaching resource that will keep on giving,” states Richard Boase. “As a teaching tool, the webcast is intended to help these professionals ask the right questions. We would like them to focus on how they and others can apply science-based understanding, properly and effectively."

Cross-border collaboration would enhance water resources research and practice in North America

Under an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management (ncimm.org) has been created to provide sustainable research, development and outreach for water infrastructure modeling, initially focusing on two foremost modelling tools – known around the world by the acronyms EPA SWMM and EPANET. Dr. Charles Rowney is the Director of Operations. “It is the combination of diverse needs, ideas and solutions that will make the vision for the Center work,” stated Dr. Rowney. “That is one of the reasons we’re so pleased with the agreement just reached with the British Columbia Partnership for Water Sustainability. We have many needs in common, and many ideas to share."

FREE WEBINAR: Canadian Attitudes About Water – 10 Years of Research Tells a Story of Contradictions (April 11, 2017)

Join Bob Sandford and friends, on April 11th, for a deep dive into RBC’s 10th annual Canadian Water Attitudes Study—an in-depth examination of how Canadians think, feel, and act in regard to our fresh water. The story that has emerged from this research is both complex and enlightening. On one hand, it confirms how much Canadians value our water and how integral our lakes and rivers are to our national identity; on the other, it reveals a troubling carelessness with a resource Canadians still consider unlimited in its abundance. “We don’t pay the real costs of the water we use—neither the costs necessary to transport and treat it, nor the environmental costs of wasting it. As a result, we’ve come to believe that water is cheap. There’s no incentive to use less of it,” Sandford concludes.

Governments of Canada and British Columbia fund Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative

Collaborating under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI), the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is one of five regional districts sharing and learning from each other about how to implement 'Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management'. In March 2017 , the Federal and Provincial governments announced program funding for Sustainable Watershed Systems. The CVRD acted on behalf of the partners to receive the capacity-building grant from the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF). “Local government collaboration under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI) is producing tools and resources that will help communities integrate watershed systems thinking into land use and infrastructure decisions," stated Jon Lefebure.

“Something really good is happening in British Columbia,” observed Bob Sandford at Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium

Bob Sandford is frequently a keynote speaker at ‘water events’ in British Columbia, including Feast AND Famine (Metro Vancouver, 2015) and FLOWnGROW (Okanagan, 2016). In March 2017, he spoke on Vancouver Island at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium: Climate Change, Nature’s Services and Thinking Like a Watershed. Bob Sandford’s ongoing exposure to the sharing and learning that takes place at these events provides him with an observers’ perspective on the transformational impact of such ‘watershed moments’ and how watershed systems thinking is taking root in British Columbia. “I travel widely, but I have never heard a conversation like what I have heard at the Symposium. And while I am often part of very positive conversations, what was unique (about the Symposium) was the atmosphere of possibilities and hope that I have witnessed here," stated Bob Sandford.