Category:

Tools and Resources

PLANNING FOR WATER RESILIENCY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “A longstanding goal of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is to find a balance between supporting those local governments who are leaders, while over time raising the bar to encourage the rest,” states Brian Bedford, A/Executive Director, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing


“The bar has been raised and no longer can a local government simply state in an application that they have a Water Conservation Plan endorsed by Council or Board resolution. Now, when a grant application is submitted, the Ministry asks for confirmation that an up-to-date plan has been approved by Council or Board resolution within the last 5 years. It is in the look ahead that one can foresee the opportunity for a local government to identify what role the BC Landscape Water Calculator could play in achieving water conservation targets and further reducing water use in the community,” states Brian Bedford.

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FLASHBACK TO 2009: The Water Conservation Calculator, an online tool, was unveiled by the BC provincial government at a national conference. What was the goal in developing the tool? Align provincial grant programs with water conservation targets in “Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan” to achieve water supply resiliency province-wide!


“Smaller communities often cannot allocate resources to traditional infrastructure projects or cannot budget for the development of water conservation and efficiency plans by service providers. The purpose of the Water Conservation Calculator is to illustrate how specific conservation measures yield both fiscal and physical water consumption savings. Water purveyors can use the tool to assist in presenting their conservation case to council and other decision makers,” stated Lisa Wright, Ministry of Community & Rural Development.

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USING SCIENCE TO ESTABLISH A LANDSCAPE WATER BUDGET: “The BC Landscape Water Calculator is linked to a 500 metre gridded climate data set covering the entire province. The tool allows any property owner in BC to zoom in to their property and quantify their landscape water needs based on climate, soil, plant type and irrigation system,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, when he announced that the online calculator is now live


“A platform re-build for the BC Agriculture Water Calculator was the opportunity to spin-off the BC Landscape Water Calculator as a stand-alone tool for use by local governments and their residents. At the same time, the City of Kelowna was implementing a landscape bylaw that established an allowable water budget at the individual property scale. Therefore, it was a natural fit for the Partnership and City to collaborate in the development of the BC Landscape Water Calculator,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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A GUIDE TO GREEN CHOICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We are providing local government with the information to make better decisions,” stated Dr. Laura Tate, then representing the BC Ministry of Community & Rural Development, when she explained the matrix of Green Communities initiatives at the inaugural 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series


In 2008, the Ministry of Community Development developed A Guide to Green Choices to help local governments continue the extensive work they were already doing in fostering green communities. “We have a series of initiatives within the Ministry that are integrated with other broader provincial initiatives. These are seeking to help us build green communities in our province. We all benefit from having attractive, liveable communities…with a healthy natural environment,” stated Dr. Laura Tate.

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FLASHBACK TO 2006: “Our program emphasis shifted from ‘informing and educating’ to ‘showcasing and sharing’. We witnessed the motivational power of celebrating successes. We also recognized the need to get the story out about the leadership being shown by local government,” stated Ray Fung, Chair, when the Green Infrastructure Partnership released a report on conversations with a mayors and chairs focus group (September 2006)


“In 2005, the Green Infrastructure Partnership decided to consult with a number of Mayors and Chairs from the Okanagan, Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. We formed an ad hoc focus group to help us. We had it in our minds to write a ‘Communication Guide for Elected Officials’. We saw this filling a gap. A distinguishing feature of the focus group was that everyone had thought about how to achieve environmental, economic and social objectives through a community’s infrastructure choices,” stated Ray Fung.

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THE CUYAHOGA RIVER CAUGHT FIRE 50 YEARS AGO. IT INSPIRED A MOVEMENT: “In 2019, will the record rate of melting of Greenland’s glaciers at the same time as the Amazon forest is burning be the ‘Cuyahoga River moment’ for Generations X, Y and Z?” wrote Kim Stephens in the first article of a new season of Waterbucket News (September 2019)


“Throughout B.C. today, there are many ‘elders in action’ still doing good work, applying a lifetime of experience and passion to tackle local, regional and provincial matters. Now is the time to learn from their efforts and what it means to be knowledgeable, giving one’s time for the common good, working on solutions, and getting results. Elders in action are beacons of hope,” states Kim Stephens. “Elders are leading by example to bridge a demographic gap until Generations X, Y and Z take the baton. Learn from our experience. Build on it. Get the wheel rolling. Time is of the essence. It is 2 minutes to midnight. The future is here, NOW.”

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SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “How do communities decide how much to invest in restoration? The Primer on the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) describes a methodology that landed on the notion of the natural commons as the starting point for calculating the financial value of a stream bed and riparian corridor,” states Tim Pringle, EAP Chair (January 2019)


“EAP deals with a basic question: what is a creekshed WORTH, now and in future, to the community and various intervenors? The EAP valuation methodology yields an asset value for the stream corridor that can then be used for budget purposes,” stated Tim Pringle. “We broke new ground with EAP. Insights and understanding that we gained led us to look at creeksheds differently. The importance of viewing choices through the ‘worth lens’ became clear.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: “The purpose of the Primer on Rainwater Management in an Urban Watershed Context is to provide engineers and non-engineers with a common understanding of how a science-based approach to rainwater management has evolved since the mid-1990s,” stated Peter Law, a founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Two decades ago, ground-breaking research by Richard Horner and Chris May in Washington State identified limiting factors for stream health, and established an order-of-priority. Their findings provided a road map for integrated rainwater management,” stated Peter Law. “After that, the ‘made in BC’ concept of the Rainfall Spectrum led us to look at rainfall differently. This resulted in the Water Balance Methodology and the ability to quantify and assess the hydrologic effectiveness of ‘green’ infrastructure.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: “The purpose of the ‘Primer on Urban Watershed Modelling to Inform Local Government Decision Processes’ is to provide engineers and non-engineers with a common understanding regarding ‘appropriate and affordable’ computer modelling,” stated Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


The Primer provided local governments with a starting point for applying lessons learned over the previous decade. “By addressing what appropriate and affordable should mean in practice, the Primer deals with two separate dimensions of an integrated Watershed Plan. The first is the watershed itself, where the focus is on the relationship between rainfall and resulting flow rates in streams. The second is the storm drainage system, where the focus is on infrastructure and the level of service,” stated Jim Dumont.

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FLASHBACK TO 2012: “The Primer on Integrated Rainwater and Groundwater Management demonstrated how pioneer research in the Englishman River watershed on Vancouver Island leads us to look at groundwater differently from a water balance perspective,” stated Craig Wightman, Senior Fisheries Biologist with BC Conservation Foundation


“The Primer introduces the issue of the ‘unfunded infrastructure liability’. Viewing the watershed through an asset management lens provides local governments with a driver to require that development practices mimic the Water Balance,” states Craig Wightman. The Primer is an outcome of collaboration involving Living Rivers, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, the Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, and the City of Parksville.

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