Convening for Action in British Columbia: Water Balance Model and Water Bucket Website are the twin engines for Outreach & Continuing Education Program
The Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia is the partnership umbrella for an Outreach and Continuing Education Program (OCEP) that promotes a ‘water-centric’ approach to community planning and development.
Released in 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan incorporated A Watershed/Landscape-Based Approach to Community Planning as a core element. This was rebranded as ‘water-centric planning’ in 2006.
The New Business As Usual
OCEP comprises inter-connected elements that give local governments and practitioners the tools and experience to better manage land and water resources.
Twin Engines of OCEP
Two tools in the toolbox are the Water Balance Model and the Water Bucket Website. They are the twin engines driving OCEP:
- In September 2003, the Inter-Governmental Partnership (IGP) launched the web-based Water Balance Model as an extension of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in 2002.
- In November 2003, the Province convened a provincial ‘water focus group’ working session in the Okanagan. The Water Bucket Website was an outcome. It was launched in April 2005.
Water Balance Model
“The WBM quantifies the effectiveness of site designs that incorporate rainfall capture features such as rain gardens and absorbent soil. It does a continuous simulation over the period of record to test facility performance under different combinations of land use, soil and rainfall,” states Ted van der Gulik, IGP Chair.
“Because the WBM demonstrates how to achieve a light ‘hydrologic footprint’, it helps planners and designers wrap their minds around how to implement ‘green solutions’ on-the-ground.”
“The power of the WBM process lies in the conversations that result from users generating a single number – the percentage of rainfall that becomes runoff. Comparison of scenarios creates understanding, especially when the focus is on the hydrologic implications of the assumptions that underpin those percentages.”
Water Bucket Website
“watebucket.ca is the key to the communications strategy for the Action Plan. The website is designed to provide the complete story on integrated land and water management – why, what, where and how,” states Mike Tanner, Website Partnership Chair.
“Water Bucket stories establish expectations about program curricula and event outcomes. To get the word out, we work with our partners to craft email-type news releases that are complete with embedded links. We are finding that these news releases are taking on a life of their own.”