Climate Change Research Helps Communities in British Columbia





Chris Jensen Finds Natural Solutions that Help Builders and Municipalities Reduce Rainwater Management Costs

After years studying rain gardens, green roofs and climate change, Chris Jensen graduated in November 2012 from the University of Victoria with an MSc degree in geography. “And when it rains, local municipalities can thank him for mapping practical solutions that reduce the costs of stormwater management – a growing concern in many areas of British Columbia,” stated the Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper in a recent feature article.


Bowker Creek Study Area

Funded in part by a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Chris Jensen conducted his research study in the heavily urbanized Bowker Creek watershed, within the municipal borders of Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich.

“Bowker Creek is an ideal case study,” he says. “About 50 per cent of its surface is impermeable due to roads, buildings and pavement, and a study led by the Capital Regional District predicts that there will be increased flooding there in the future.”

“If rainwater is absorbed where it falls, there’ll be less risk of overloading our storm water systems and less flood damage to homes, businesses and sensitive aquatic habitats. It’s a gentler, more natural way of managing rainfall.”

“Strategies include permeable paving materials, green roofs and rain gardens. The idea is that if we can use some combination of these, we can reduce flooding without expensive upgrades to the existing drainage infrastructure.” 



Tools for Local Governments

Chris Jensen is with the BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. He works with local governments on addressing climate change in their development strategies. He also helps communities prepare for climate change by reducing vulnerabilities to crisis events such as flooding.

Chris Jensen is a member of the partnership that is responsible for development and ongoing evolutionj of the Water Balance Model, a scenario comparison and decision support tool for rainwater management. The Climate Change Module is a practical application of his research.

“Local Governments are making significant progress in preparing for a changing climate, from vulnerability assessments to comprehensive climate adaptation plans. Throughout these processes, a key challenge has been translating global climate science to local land-use decisions. The new Climate Change Module in the Water Balance Model helps overcome this obstacle,” emphasizes Chris Jensen.


To Learn More:

To read the complete article about Chris Jensen as published in the VIctoria Times-Colonist, click on Rainy Day Stormwater Solutions.

To read a previous story posted on Waterbucket about his research findings, click on Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities: A Hydrological Assessment of Using Green Infrastructure Practices in British Columbia to Mitigate Future Flooding.

To read about the role that Chris Jensen has played in the evolution of the Water Balance Model, click on British Columbia Partnership announces that rebuilt “Water Balance Model” now incorporates Climate Change Module.