DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Town of Comox – beacon of inspiration for water balance approach to land development” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in March 2023
Note to Reader:
Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on March 7, 2023 featured the Town of Comox on Vancouver Island. Town experience illustrates what it takes to successfully move the land development industry and engineering profession in a new direction. The Town is a beacon of inspiration for water balance approach to land development.
Town of Comox move land development industry and engineering profession in a new direction
Shelley Ashfield joined the Town of Comox in 2009 and is the Director of Operations. An early adopter of the Water Balance Methodology, she long recognized the need to reconnect hydrology and stream ecology to protect streams when land is developed. Otherwise, streams will degrade.
“I am proud of what the Town has accomplished over the past decade. It took hard work though,” states Shelley Ashfield. “Now that the Northeast Comox rainwater management plan is in place, water balance modeling is a requirement, and supporting bylaws help us regulate what developers must do on the ground. All in all, it has been such a huge step for the Town to get to where we have arrived at.”
The Town had to re-invent what have been accepted development practices. Historical failure by designers to apply the fundamentals of a water balance approach perpetuates degrading of urban streams. How water gets to a stream, and how long it takes, is generally not well understood among land and drainage practitioners.
Bylaws underpin regulatory framework
Two new bylaws underpin the Town’s regulatory framework for maintaining the water balance after land is developed. One is the Drainage Infrastructure Protection Bylaw and the other is the Runoff Control Bylaw. The former applies across the entire municipality whereas the latter is a soil depth requirement (absorbent sponge) that is presently limited to Northeast Comox.
The flow of rainwater from cloud to stream is comprised of three water balance pathways: surface, shallow interflow, and groundwater. The latter two as well as time are routinely ignored by designers. The Comox regulatory framework remedies this situation.
“The framework accounts for all three pathways, incorporates an Adaptive Management Plan, and is supported by a monitoring program. The plan identifies triggers that would lead to changes,” explains Shelley Ashfield.
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete story published on March 7th 2023, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Town of Comox – beacon of inspiration for water balance approach to land development.
DOWNLOAD A COPY: https://waterbucket.ca/wcp/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2023/03/PWSBC_Living-Water-Smart_Comox-beacon-of-inspiration_2023.pdf