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Outreach Presentations

British Columbia vision for implementation of “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” introduced to Australian audience at national stormwater conference (Aug 2016)


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our ‘whole systems’ approach to water balance management,” stated Kim Stephens. “I introduced Australians to three ‘big ideas’ that underpin where we are heading in BC, namely: Primacy of Hydrology, Shifting Baseline Syndrome, and Cathedral Thinking. My due diligence in preparing for the keynote address involved interviewing a cross-section of ‘water thought leaders’ from across Australia.”

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“Communities and cities are all about choices – much will depend on getting the choices right for integrating water balance solutions in land use decisions,” stated Kim Stephens in his presentation to municipal engineers at the 2016 Annual APEGBC Conference


Communities would benefit from shifting their definitions of community infrastructure to include entire watersheds. “We invited Kim Stephens to be our lead speaker because we’re very interested in the work that he and the Partnership are doing around asset management and sustainable watersheds,” explained the City of Campbell River’s Sara Brodie. She is on the APEGBC Municipal Engineering Division executive. Restoring hydrologic integrity, and thus the water balance, is key to a water-resilient future, emphasized Kim Stephens in his remarks.

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“Within two years, our goal is that local governments will understand WHY and HOW to transition to Sustainable Watershed Systems, through asset management,” stated Kim Stephens at a meeting of Metro Vancouver’s Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (Nov 2016)


“The project ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ describes a whole-system, water balance approach to community development and infrastructure servicing,” stated Kim Stephens. “As understanding grows, local governments will progress incrementally along the Asset Management Continuum for Sustainable Service Delivery. Step Three is Sustainable Watershed Systems. My objective in meeting with SILG was to plant seeds. Six months from now we will see whether and/or how the seeds have taken root.”

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“It has taken more than a decade to implement a policy, program and regulatory framework that makes ‘Water-Resilient Communities’ possible in British Columbia,” Kim Stephens explained to a local government audience in Parksville


“Kim Stephens was able to communicate concepts in a way that made sense to the class. They understood him perfectly,” observed Todd Pugh, sessional instructor for Capilano’s Local Government Administration Certificate program. “It is such a mix of people – there were some who would have liked to hear more about the science behind what he presented, and for others it was more science than they’ve experienced since elementary school. So on the whole, I think he hit the right mix.”

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“Get it right at the development scale and the results will accumulate at the watershed and regional scales,” said Kim Stephens in a lecture to landscape architect students at UBC


North Vancouver City is a case study for a UBC design course on integration of landscape architecture into urban rainwater management strategies. “Stormwater management is part of landscape architectural design and is an important consideration for every project. The lecture by Kim Stephens was excellent and well-paced,” stated Daniel Roehr, Associate Professor. “He provided clarity regarding a course objective, which is to design at different scales, using the reverse design strategy, site and details first before urban and regional scale.”

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It is necessary to connect past and present research to “think and act like a watershed”, Kim Stephens informed the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society at its 2016 Annual General Meeting


“Everyone learns about the water cycle in elementary school, but by high school most have forgotten what they learned,” said Kim Stephens. “What does this mean for communities? Consider that a legacy of community and infrastructure design practices has failed to protect the natural water balance (hydrologic integrity). Failure has financial, level‐of‐service and life‐cycle impacts and implications for taxpayers. The results can be very expensive to fix. Local governments are starting to recognize that watersheds are natural assets that have value, and ecosystem services have a role in municipal service delivery.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2014: Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC recognized City of Coquitlam as a Champion Supporter and celebrated the accomplishments of staff


Coquitlam is the sixth-largest city in British Columbia. “There is no question that all of Council relishes Champion Supporter recognition. We strive to make sure that our watersheds work properly. We have a number of committees that are aimed at improving the health of the watershed and the health of the river – everything from sand and gravel operations to the way in which stormwater management takes place adjacent to city streets, the kinds of initiatives we have undertaken and continue to undertake,” stated Mayor Richard Stewart

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FLASHBACK TO 2014: Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC recognized City of North Vancouver as a Champion Supporter and celebrated the accomplishments of staff


“On the North Shore, people are passionate about their creeks. Protection of salmon habitat and stream health is important to us. Yet not everyone recognizes and understands the connection between our actions on the land and the impacts on fish habitat. We all can make a difference by designing with nature. The change starts with rain gardens. A single rain garden will not make a material difference to stream health. But 1000 rain gardens would be a different story. Restoring stream health requires a long-term commitment,” states Mayor Darrell Mussatto.

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BCIT Guest Lecture Series: graduating engineers learn about history and scope of “Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia” from Kim Stephens (March 2016)


The purpose of the British Columbia Institute of Technology in organizing the 2016 guest lecture series was to prepare graduating engineers for entry into the working world. “The presentation by Kim Stephens gave insight into how thinking has evolved regarding stormwater management in our region and elsewhere. His discussion of Voodoo Hydrology reinforced the importance of questioning everything, a habit I try to encourage in my students,” stated Laith Furatian. Kim Stephens introduced the Water Sustainability Action Plan to the graduating students.

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Benefits of Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative: Sharing and learning from each other eliminates disconnect between information and implementation


The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is recognized for the leadership that its Drinking Water & Watershed Program is providing. Success is helping to foster a new ‘land ethic’ among land and water practitioners in the region. Bill Veenhof (photo), RDN Chair, thanked Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability for recognizing the work of RDN staff and providing the RDN Board with an appreciation of how the RDN program is cross-pollinating with programs in other regions. Kim Stephens provided the RDN Directors with an overview of the work of the Partnership, and introduced them to Beyond the Guidebook 2015.

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