In 2003, the Inter-Government Partnership called on BC politicians to embrace water balance thinking and “Design with Nature” at the Union of BC Municipalities Urban Forum
Launch of the Water Balance Model at 2003 UBCM Urban Forum
With release of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia in June 2002, BC was the first provincial or state government in North America to adopt the Water Balance Methodology. The methodology enables local governments to establish performance targets for land use. The goal is to protect watershed and stream health.
Immediately upon release of the Guidebook, an Inter-Governmental Partnership co-chaired by the Province and Environment Canada was formed. The Partnership mandate was to develop the Water Balance Model for British Columbia as an extension of the Guidebook.
The formal launch of this scenario comparison and decision support tool was coordinated with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). The venue for the launch was the Urban Forum at the Annual UBCM Convention in September 2003.
“Design with Nature”
“With release of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia in 2002, the Partnership set out to change the way land is developed in BC,” states Ted van der Gulik, Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership
“To create change, our initial focus was on the ability of the landscape to absorb rainfall. Now, our emphasis is on the movement of water through the ground, and the resulting baseflow to streams.”
“Our mission is to influence the culture in the local government setting. This takes patience and time.”
“From the start, we have had high-level political endorsement and support. Notably, in September 2003, the Union of BC Municipalities provided us with a platform to tell our story.”
“At the 2003 UBCM Urban Forum, we challenged BC’s politicians to walk the sustainability talk and apply a ‘design with nature’ approach to the design of their communities.”
“And, we formally launched the Water Balance Model for British Columbia as an extension of the Guidebook.”
“Provincial direction is ‘mimic the natural Water Balance’ to protect stream and watershed health.”
“The Water Balance Model is a means to an end: think like a watershed.”
“The tool promotes awareness and action. Our efforts are now bearing fruit. A ‘design with nature’ land ethic is taking hold in many communities,” concludes Ted van der Gulik.