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Rainwater Management

Download British Columbia guidance documents. Learn about the guiding philosophy and tools for implementing ‘sustainable watershed systems, through asset management’. Be inspired by success stories. Understand why it is necessary to manage the complete spectrum of ‘rainfall days’ in a year, preserve or replicate the pathways by which water reaches streams, and so mimic flow-duration distribution. The emphasis herein is on the drainage runoff side of the Water Balance distribution.

Latest Posts

DOWNLOAD: Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia


“Released in 2002, the Guidebook provides a framework for effective rainwater management throughout the province. This tool for local governments presents a methodology for moving from planning to action that focuses on implementing early action where it is most needed,” states Laura Maclean. “The Guidebook approach is designed to eliminate the root cause of negative ecological and property impacts of rainwater runoff by addressing the complete spectrum of rainfall events. The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional ‘flows-and-pipes’ stormwater management.”

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Water Balance Model – On Tour!


“Have a look at some of the Water Balance Model slideshow presentations that have been made to industry and government groups starting in 2001. This includes some of the early presentations on the Water Balance Methodology that helped pave the way for the paradigm-shift from 'peak flow thinking' to 'volume-based thinking'. The many presentations created awareness and influenced expectations,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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FLASHBACK TO THE ROLLOUT OF BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2010: “A key component of managing for storms is redesigning our approach to handling the more frequent, lighter rainfall events,” Anna Warwick Sears, Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, at the last of five regional events that showcased the rollout of Beyond the Guidebook 2010 (From Rain to Resource Workshop, Kelowna, October 2010)


“Extreme weather patterns, including higher rainfall intensities and more frequent flooding, are one of the projected outcomes of climate change. Managing stormwater effectively will be a critical climate change adaptation tool. Increased development and increased storm intensity from climate change are increasing peak flows and altering the rules of the game. We can’t engineer away our problems fast enough, and have to look at other, lower impact solutions,” stated Anna Warwick Sears.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008 / MAKE GREEN CHOICES TO PROTECT STREAM HEALTH: “Rather than evolution, the approach to stormwater management over the last couple of decades might be better described as ‘reactionary’ in response to a realization that old ways of doing business were causing harm,” stated Ian Whitehead at Seminar 1 in the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series when he provided a historical retrospective on the evolution of drainage practices in the City of Courtenay (YouTube Video)


“I looked up the definition of evolution in my pocket dictionary. It says develop, or cause to develop gradually. It goes on to say that this means undergo slow changes in the process of growth. By this definition, at least, I would argue that what has been going on in this part of the world is something other than evolutionary. Over the last 15 to 20 years, we have seen dramatic changes in the Comox Valley in land use and the effects of stormwater and rainwater on the environment. We are reacting to what we perceive as adverse conditions,” stated Ian Whitehead.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008 / BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK: “The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that resulted in British Columbia being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Kim Stephens, series team leader, at Seminar 1 in the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series (YouTube Video)


“The evolution of planning for water sustainability by implementing green infrastructure achieved a milestone with release of Beyond the Guidebook in 2007. The goal? Help local governments achieve desired urban stream health and environmental protection outcomes at a watershed scale. In early 2008, the provincial government’s Speech from the Throne provided a timely impetus for branding Beyond the Guidebook as The New Business As Usual and rolling it out through the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Series,” stated Kim Stephens.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “There is no piped drainage system on the site. Water stored on the roof spills onto a dry creek bed and flows sub-surface to a marsh,” stated the City of Nanaimo’s Dean Mousseau when he described the ‘design with nature’ approach to rainwater management at the Inland Kenworth site (YouTube Video)


The Inland Kenworth truck and heavy equipment facility in the City of Nanaimo illustrates what can be accomplished through collaboration when a municipality challenges a development proponent to be innovative, green the built environment, and protect stream health. “We view this project as the one that changed the thinking of the consulting community in Nanaimo, particularly on redevelopment projects. We are turning the tide because projects are now incorporating features for rainwater runoff capture,” stated Dean Mousseau.

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APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS TO SHELLY CREEK ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “As a result of alterations to the hydrology of the creekshed, the Shelly Creek ‘riparian ecosystem’ has been reduced to a number of ‘riparian zones’ as defined in regulations. We view this finding as one of the key takeaways from the financial valuation of the Shelly Creek natural commons and the package of ecological services that it provides,” stated Tim Chair, EAP Chair


“The Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) considers use and conservation of land to be equally important values. Historically, land use and property development in our communities have been given priority over ecological systems such as streams. Too often the result has been remnant ecological services that fall far short of the benefits that these natural commons can provide. The research findings suggest that the diminution of stream functions gradually will draw the attention of property owners and the community to the ‘no harm’ rule in land appraisal.,” stated Tim Pringle.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2015: “Moving Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (released November 2015)


“Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is a milestone accomplishment, and was made possible with provincial funding assistance. The Ministry of Environment acknowledges that the Partnership for Water Sustainability is also adding depth to the Guidebook through the Beyond the Guidebook Report Series and the Beyond the Guidebook Primer Series. The work of the Partnership is supporting the Province’s Living Water Smart vision and Green Communities initiative,” stated Wes Shoemaker, Deputy Minister.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2010: “Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia” (released June 2010)


“There are a lot of times when we in local government like to blame or put on senior governments the responsibility to provide the framework for doing something, but there are things that we in local government can do. We need to choose to be enabled. So, what we mean by shared responsibility is that everyone has a role, and everyone can act – all levels of government, developers, regulators, bureaucrats, consultants, planners, engineers – we all have a role,” stated Ray Fung.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2007: “Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia” (released June 2007)


“British Columbia’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook, released in 2002, recognized that water volume is something over which local government has control through its infrastructure servicing policies, practices and standards. Through implementation of ‘green infrastructure’ practices, the desired outcome in going Beyond the Guidebook is to apply what we have learned at the site scale over the past five years – so that we can truly protect and/or restore stream health in urban watersheds,” stated Paul Ham.

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THE SECOND DECADE OF DELTA’S RAIN GARDEN PROGRAM: “The close collaboration between the City of Delta, the Streamkeepers, other volunteers and the Delta School District is what has allowed the rain garden program to persist for 15 years. I look forward to encouraging these types of projects in the years to come,” stated Mayor George Harvie (June 2020)


The City of Delta’s rain garden program evolved gradually, in the manner of any good garden — from early conversations in 1999, through the first rain garden in 2006, to the 29 school and community rain gardens in 2019. “The City has a long history of working closely with the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers on projects that improve watershed conditions. One example of this is the highly successful rain garden program, which has not only increased stormwater infiltration in our urban areas but has also created beautiful amenities in the community,” stated Mayor George Harvie.

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THE FIRST DECADE OF PHILADELPHIA’S GREEN CITY, CLEAN WATERS PROGRAM: “We had sold people on the concept, but we did not expect the level of complexity that was required, the level of partnership. We had no idea,” said Paula Conolly, director of the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange


Since entering into an innovative partnership with the United States EPA almost a decade ago, Philadelphia has become a testing ground for green technologies. Philadelphia’s program involves creating ‘greened acres’ — expanses of impervious land that are transformed either to absorb the first 1½ inches of rainfall or send it into rain gardens or other local green infrastructure systems. The City has created more than 1,500 of a projected 10,000 greened acres.

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