FROM RAIN TO RESOURCE: Brock Dolman of the California-based WATER Institute will be keynote speaker at Okanagan Rainwater Workshop (October 2010)

Showcasing Innovation and Leadership

The goal of the From Rain to Resource Workshop is to share positive and innovative developments in rainwater management and to discuss how barriers to change are being overcome in communities in BC and beyond.

Anna warwick sears (120p) - executive director, obwb“I’ve had a few people ask about the title of the conference,” remarked Anna Warwick Sears, executive director of the OBWB. “In the old days, we used to try to get the stormwater in to the storm sewers as fast as possible, and run it into the lake. But rain really is a resource if you handle it properly.”

“To have a sustainable water supply we need more emphasis on keeping pollution out of our lakes and streams, with less run off during storms. We also need to recharge the aquifers under our neighbourhoods. This workshop is about how to do all of these things by following the example of other communities. The long-term benefits to the environment and the tax savings are huge,” added Warwick Sears.

An Introduction to Brock Dolman

Brock dolman (120p) - water instituteThe workshop will feature keynote speaker, Brock Dolman. Dolman is the Director of the California-based WATER Institute. He has been featured on many radio programs and in award-winning films, including The 11th Hour by Leonardo DiCaprio, and has published numerous articles on sustainable watershed management

About the WATER Institute

In 2004 the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) established the WATER Institute (Watershed Advocacy, Training, Education, & Research) to promote understanding of the importance of healthy watersheds to healthy communities.

Building upon OAEC’s many years of work to protect Coastal California’s watersheds, the WATER Institute concentrates on four interrelated and equally strong program components: advocacy and policy development; training and support; education and demonstration; and research.

The WATER Institute continues to publish and educate about “Conservation Hydrology,” an applied science being pioneered by OAEC and characterized by the following key concepts:

  • Human development decisions must be based on a new “rehydration model” instead of the current “dehydration model.”
  • All development must safeguard the health of watersheds and the availability of clean water.
  • Land-use management strategies must thoroughly analyze the impact of human activities on the hydrologic cycle, and how these activities affect species, community and ecosystem dynamics.
  • Democratic, regionally controlled decision-making processes are essential for the protection of vigorous ecosystems and diverse, resilient hydrological systems.

Asserting that it is “better to be safe than thirsty,” the WATER Institute advocates the use of the Precautionary Principle in decisions about water-use policy.

More About Brock Dolman

Brock Dolman is also the director of OAEC’s Permaculture Program, he co-directs the Wildlands Biodiversity Program and he co-manages the Center’s biodiversity collection, orchards and 70 acres of wildlands.

Living up to his specialized generalist nature, and rekindling the dwindling art of the peripatetic natural historian, his experience ranges from the study of wildlife biology, native California botany and watershed ecology, to the practice of habitat restoration, education about regenerative human settlement design, ethno-ecology, and ecological literacy activism towards societal transformation.

Think Like a Watershed

Brock’s keynote presentation, entitled Basins of Relations: Thinking Like a Watershed, will offer interpretation about water, watersheds, human development patterns and restoration.

Brock will discuss rainwater harvesting as a strategy of water conservation from roofs to the broader landscape. He will expand on ideas of “Conservation Hydrology” and Low Impact Development, which emphasize the need in many areas for human development designs to move from drainage to retainage.

Brock will offer ideas on practices that spread, slow and sink rainwater on site rather than land use practices that, by design, capture and convey excess volumes of rainwater and stormwater off-site.