Convening for Action in Metro Vancouver to Green the Urban Landscape and Protect Watershed Health


Water balance model - three scales image (360p)


Historical Context

“The genesis for ISMPs (Integrated Stormwater Management Plans) was a desire to integrate the community, engineering, planning and environmental perspectives. In 2001, Metro Vancouver’s member municipalities recognized the benefits of this approach and made a legal commitment to the Province to have ISMPs in place by 2014 for their watersheds,” reports Robert Hicks, Senior Engineer with Metro Vancouver.

Unintended Consequences

Within a few years, however, it was evident to many in local government that the way ISMPs were being developed was resulting in unintended consequences, that is:

  • ISMPs were identifying extensive and costly drainage system upgrades;
  • proposed multi-million dollar capital plans were not affordable; and
  • municipalities were faced with an unfunded ‘infrastructure liability’.

In February 2011, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia released Integrated Rainwater Management Planning: Summary Report for ISMP Course Correction Series. This guidance document is intended to help municipalities do business differently so that they can protect and/or restore watershed health.

Achieve More With Less

The Partnership’s vision is that an ISMP Course Correction will help municipalities achieve more with less, and reduce their infrastructure liability. During the period March  through June, the Partnership released a series of articles that build on this theme:

  1. Water Balance Model Partners Forum will showcase vision for ‘WBM Express for Homeowners’
  2. Water Balance Model Partners are charter members of the ‘Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia’
  3. Community of Users Inform Platform Conversion for Water Balance Model
  4. Integrated Rainwater Management: Municipalities Can Achieve More With Less
  5. ISMP Course Correction” will help Metro Vancouver municipalities fulfil regulatory commitments and “achieve more with less”
  6. Partnership announces that Water Balance Model “Version 2.1” will go live in Fall 2011
  7. “ISMP Course Correction” aligns with Metro Vancouver’s proposed Ecological Health Plan
  8. Partnership Releases Rollout Plan for Re-Built Water Balance Model
  9. BC Environment Minister Strengthens Metro Vancouver’s Visionary Plan for Managing Rainwater Resources

The image below illustrates the essence of the necessary paradigm-shift.  An ISMP that is truly integrated would provide a clear picture of how local governmentscan apply land use planning tools to create a future watershed condition desired by all.

 Posted September 2011