Rainwater Harvesting in Canada: What Other Provinces are Doing

Note to Reader:

On December 3, 2013 the Partnership for Water Sustainability and the Irrigation Industry Association are joining forces to co-host a workshop that will explore regulatory requirements, water balance benefits and practical applications of rainwater harvesting design and operation. The workshop is structured as four cascading modules.

In the lead-off module, the team of Chris Midgley, Zachary May and Cate Soroczan will connect dots and paint the “big picture” for rainwater harvesting in BC. They will address the regulatory context that enables, and the opportunities this creates, for innovators and implementers to harvest and utilize rainwater where it falls. They will set the stage for a Town-Hall Sharing & Learning Session titled “What Do You Wonder”. Below is a preview of the perspective that Cate Soroczan will provide.

To register for the workshop, go to the IIABC website: https://www.irrigationbc.com/irrigation/courses/view_scheduled/119

TO DOWNLOAD a copy of the Program Overview, click on Get Your Mind Into the Gutter: A Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting in British Columbia.


Living Water Smart: Doing Business Differently in British Columbia

Many BC communities are often water-short when demand is greatest. And now our climate is changing. To future-proof communities, the 45 actions and targets in Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan establish expectations for doing business differently. This provincial target frames the learning outcomes for the workshop: 50% of new municipal water needs will be acquired through conservation by 2020.

Rainwater Harvesting is a Grass-Roots Initiative

The theme for Module A is Living Water Smart: Doing Business Differently to Achieve Provincial Goals and Targets. Cate Soroczan will draw on her Canada-wide knowledge of who is doing what in order to provide a national perspective on the rainwater harvesting movement in Canada.

Cate Soroczan_2013_120p“The speaking order of Chris Midgley from local government, Zachary May of the Province of BC, and then me works well because it reflects the current reality of how rainwater harvesting initiatives are taking shape across Canada,” states Cate Soroczan.

“Rainwater harvesting is a grass-roots initiative. The next step is that the provinces get on board. Once they do, this provides a regulatory driver. At a national scale, the purpose of the National Building Code is to achieve consistency.”

“Actually, the real driver for rainwater harvesting is water availability, or lack thereof. Hence, the reason why it is a local grass-roots issue and why certain regions or provinces are more ahead than others,” emphasizes Cate Soroczan.

About Cate Soroczan

Cate Soroczan is a senior researcher in the Sustainable Housing and Communities group at Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation. She currently chairs the CSA B128.3 technical sub-committee for the performance of non-potable water reuse systems and is past-chair of the CSA B126 technical committee on Water Cisterns.

Cate has worked closely with Health Canada in the development of the Residential Water Quality Reuse Guidelines, with the BNQ (Bureau de normalisation du Quebec) in the development of a national standard for onsite wastewater systems, and with CSA (Canadian Standards Association) in the development of standards for water reuse and water cisterns.

Cate sits on the Task Group examining options for incorporating Water Use Efficiency into the national building and plumbing codes.

In 2005, Cate Soroczan organized the Cross-Canada Rainwater Harvesting Workshop Series. These featured international experts and included events in Vancouver and Victoria featuring Australian Peter Coombes and German  Klaus König, respectively.

What Other Provinces are Doing

The storyline for Cate Soroczan’s presentation is built around this theme: Rainwater Harvesting in Canada: What Other Provinces are Doing.

“My storyline is of necessity broad-brush. It is not a matter of going into details about each province. Rather, I will paint a picture of what I am seeing through my involvement on national committees,” continues Cate Soroczan.

“My 20 minutes will be structured in two parts. First, the big picture. Then I will focus on two initiatives that will be relevant to a BC audience. One is the Green Plumbers Pilot Program for Canada. The other is the CSA Cistern Standard.”

“My purpose in elaborating on these two initiatives is to relate them to BC’s Living Water Smart target that 50% of new municipal water needs will be acquired through conservation by 2020.”

Alliance for Water Use Efficiency launches Green Plumbers Pilot Program for Water Sustainability

“The Green Plumbers Program originated in Australia. It is about more than rainwater harvesting. Three provinces, including BC, are the pilots for the program proposed for Canada,” explains Cate Soroczan.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency, with funding from the Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water Project, has launched a national water sustainability training and accreditation program for plumbers. Canada has some 45,000 plumbers that interface daily with home owners and businesses, providing a significant opportunity to strengthen water conservation efforts across the country. Yet, water sustainability is not integrated into apprenticeship programs.”

“The Canadian pilot program will cover the fundamentals of water treatment and supply, advances in water efficient technology, and opportunities in sustainable practices. It will also provide testing and accreditation so plumbers can market their standardized training to customers. After completion, plumbers will have the knowledge and tools necessary to be frontline water efficiency and conservation ambassadors.”

“Feedback from pilot sessions along with a national industry survey will be used to customize a Canadian program, setting the stage for ongoing national delivery.”

CSA Standard for Water Cisterns

“The just-completed Water Cistern Standard speaks to durability and structural integrity of materials used in cistern construction. If adopted by the provinces, it impacts on all designers,” states Cate Soroczan.

“In speaking to this topic at the Rainwater Harvesting Workshop, it will be the implications that I focus on, not the tank design details.”