Published in 2002, “Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia” was a catalyst for change that has resulted in British Columbia achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management. “Beyond the Guidebook” is an initiative that builds on this foundation by advancing a runoff-based approach and tool – the ‘Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO' – to help local governments achieve desired urban stream health and environmental protection outcomes at a watershed scale.
Runoff Control at Four Scales
The purpose of the Urban Forest Research Project is to provide planners, developers and municipal engineers with the tools and research they need to approach rainwater management in a more integrated and sustainable manner. Th University of British Columbia has established a website to showcase the project results and link to web stories on the Rainwater Management Community-of-Interest.
Courtenay was the first British Columbia municipality to implement a policy requiring a minimum soil depth on development sites for reduction of rainwater runoff volume. “Because the City places importance on the soil sponge as a rainwater management tool, we are currently exploring options to ensure that developers and house builders fulfil their obligations to provide and preserve the minimum required depth,” stated Sandy Pridmore.
The Partners Forum in March 2007 provided a timely opportunity for Partners to share success stories and lessons learned in implementing green infrastructure. “While considerable research has been done in the natural environment, very little has been in an urban setting anywhere in North America. We have installed 60 tree canopy climate stations across the North Shore,” stated Richard Boase.
Nature's Revenue Streams is a 3-year public-private pilot project, based in Saanich BC, that will link rainwater infrastructure to the restoration of stream and watershed function. The project will show how urban development can be used as an opportunity to improve watershed and stream health, build/restore aquatic habitat and reduce infrastructure costs for developers and the municipality while also addressing rainwater runoff.
The goal in showcasing on-the-ground innovation is to build regional capacity through sharing of green infrastructure approaches, experiences and lessons learned as an outcome of ‘designing with nature'.
During the summer of 2003, the City of Vancouver constructed three “Country Lanes” as part of a demonstration project to evaluate more sustainable alternatives to regular lane paving.
Reducing Negative Affects of Urban Development will be the focus of Cochrane Low Impact Development Conference
“LID is a practical and cost-effective approach to reducing and/or better managing the impacts of urbanization on our landscape in order to leave a better place for our children and grandchildren,” stated Bert van Duin. “The urban environments that we can build for them using LID will be healthier, more sustainable and use less natural resources then the ones we grew up in. “
The EMCO Corporation collaborated with the inter-governmental Water Balance Model Partnership to sponsor and organize three regional technical sessions on Rainwater Management in British Columbia during the period 2005-2006. The third in the series was held in Victoria in June 2006.
Properly designed “rain gardens” can effectively trap and retain up to 99 percent of common pollutants in urban storm runoff, potentially improving water quality and promoting the conversion of some pollutants into less harmful compounds. This is according to new research scheduled for publication in the February 15, 2006 issue of the American Chemical Society journal, “Environmental Science and Technology”. The affordable, easy-to-design gardens could help solve one of the nation’s most pressing pollution problems.