Organized by the Canadian Water Resources Association, the Conference was the kick-off for an education process designed to broaden province-wide support for this shared vision: In a fully integrated landscape, water is the unifying element. “To move toward sustainable water management in the Okanagan Basin requires difficult decisions now that will include new governance models that consider the basin as a whole,” stated Brian Guy.
The 2005 Environment Conference organized by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities explored the development and implementation of an integrated environmental management process through the building of effective partnerships. Richard Boase explained how the Water Balance Model enables users to compare scenarios for rainwater runoff volume reduction in order to achieve a light ‘hydrologic footprint’.
In March 2005 the Douglas College Institute of Urban Ecology in New Westminster, BC hosted a conference on how to keep rainwater out of the pipes and get it back into the ground. Don Moore was the driving force in organizing the event. He was responsible for constructing the first ‘engineered rain garden’ in British Columbia.
The Green Infrastructure Partnership informed REAC regarding the Convening for Action process and invited member municipalities to participate in a Consultation Workshop hosted by the City of Surrey in May 2005. “Achieving higher levels of ecological systems protection and overall environmental well-being is being successfully pursued through changes to existing land use regulations, design guidelines and construction standards”, stated Paul Ham.
The BC Ministry of Environment and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans held two workshops in 2005 to increase awareness of Species at Risk issues. Kim Stephens was a featured speaker at both events. His presentations were titled “Green Infrastructure & the Water Balance Model: A Tool for Designing with Nature”.
“We are excited to demonstrate that industry is doing its part to rise to the challenge of providing practical solutions to on-the-ground drainage issues,” stated Keith Lumby. The Water Sustainability Action Plan provided context for two learning events that were organized by the EMCO Corporation and held in Kelowna and Kamloops in 2005 during the October/November period.
“The mission of the Real Estate Foundation is to support sustainable real estate and land use practices for the benefit of British Columbians,” explained Tim Pringle. “The BCWWA Water Sustainability Committee is a member of an Advisory Committee that has been established by the Foundtion for its Communities in Transition (CIT) initiative.”
“The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance is an ecology-based public policy think tank situated at the University of Victoria. The mission of POLIS is to help reorient Canadian water management from supply to demand-side approaches,” explained Oliver Brandes. “A ‘soft path’ for water takes the management approach beyond traditional concerns to consider how we might redesign the underlying human systems that determine demand and our approach to supply.”
Nature’s Revenue Streams Links Rainwater Infrastructure to Restoration of Stream and Watershed Function
“Nature’s Revenue Streams is a 3-year public-private project on Vancouver Island that will show how urban development can be used as an opportunity to improve watershed and stream health,” stated Patrick Lucey. “NRS has considerable synergy and commonality with elements of the Water Sustainability Action Plan, both in terms of approach and green infrastructure deliverables.”
As Climate Change Challenges Local Water Resources, New Guide Advocates the ‘Soft Path’ to Water Security
“New approaches for water security are needed right now,” says Dr. David Brooks. “You could learn to live without oil, and we should, but you will not survive without fresh water. Climate chaos will force us to re-think how we manage our voracious demand for energy and water. We offer the Soft Path as a way to do that—a way that respects the environment and leads to social prosperity.”