Integrated Water Management: Building Effective Partnerships


Water Sustainability Action Plan introduced to elected officials at local government conference

Organized by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) for elected officials and senior managers, the ‘environment conference’ that was held in Richmond in March 2005 looked at how federal, provincial and local governments are addressing new approaches to environmental policy; and explored the development and implementation of an integrated environmental management process through the building of effective partnerships.

The Georgia Basin Action Plan hosted a plenary session and three concurrent workshops on Scientific Tools in Local Government Decision-Making. The objective was to promote a dialogue on successes in effectively applying science in local plans and actions, strategies for the use of scientific tools, studies and best management practices, and gaps between science and knowledge at the local level.

Watershed Liveability and Rainwater Management

The Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia provided the core content for one of the workshops. In this regard, the conference provided a timely opportunity to introduce elected officials and senior managers to the six inter-connected Action Plan Elements. The workshop theme was Watershed Liveability and Rainwater Management, and featured three modeling tools that are different stages of development and application along an applied research continuum:

  • Water Balance Model for British Columbia (by Richard Boase, Laura Maclean and Kim Stephens) – Formally launched at the 2003 Annual UBCM Conference, this decision support and scenario modeling tool is in the public domain and enables users to compare scenarios for rainwater runoff volume reduction in order to achieve a light ‘hydrologic footprint’.
  • Digital Rainfall Intensity Project (DRIP) (by Pat Wong) – Developed by Environment Canada, the DRIP predictive tool was unveiled at the UBCM Conference; it is intended to provide local governments with more efficient and accurate information to mitigate high intensity rainfall events, which can cause sewer overflows and flood damage.
  • Hydrologic Modeling of Small Watersheds (by Stuart Hamilton) – Described by Environment Canada as an ‘emerging model’, it is envisioned that this tool that will eventually enable predictive scenarios of stream flow and water quality to be used to support local decision-making.

The workshop spotlight was on the Water Balance Model because it is a prime example of a successful inter-governmental partnership that comprises a coalition of local, regional, provincial and federal agencies that share a vision for improving land development practices. In the context of ‘convening for action’, the workshop explored how local governments can use this decision support and scenario modeling tool to lead and implement change on the ground.

In terms of Convening for Action (CFA) per se, the objective in elaborating on the Water Sustainability Action Plan was to inform elected officials that there is a provincial initiative; that momentum is being generated through coordination of events and by ensuring consistent messaging; and that each successive CFA event builds on the success of the last and paves the way for the next.

Two key messages that capture the essence of the presentation on the Action Plan Elements are captured as follows: To make change happen, it has to happen on the ground; actions on the ground will result in cumulative benefits over time.

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the Conference Program, click on Integrated Water Management: Building Effective Partnerships

To download a copy of the Abstract for the session on Watershed Liveability and Rainwater Management featuring Kim Stephens and Richard Boase, click on New Modelling Tools.

To download a PDF version of the integrated PowerPoint presentation, click here.

Convening for Action_cumulative benefits_2005