Water Balance Model Forum Highlights Hydrologic Function of Soil and Trees


The Inter-Governmental Partnership held a Water Balance Model Partners Forum in March 2007 so that Partners could share success stories and lessons learned in implementing green infrastructure. During the Roundtable Sharing portion of the Partners Forum, there was emphasis on the use of soil and trees to achieve beneficial rainwater management outcomes. Kim Stephens, Kim stephens (60 pixels), sept 2006Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, provided a perspective for the reporting out by Partners when he commented that “For the past three years, our Water Balance Model outreach program educated municipalities and the development community about the role that the soil sponge plays in achieving integrated solutions that reduce both irrigation water use and rainwater runoff. For the next three years, we envision that the focus of our outreach will be on the role that trees play,”


The CITY OF COURTENAY  was the first BC municipality to implement a policy Sandy pridmore, city of courtenayrequiring a minimum soil depth on development sites. Sandy Pridmore reported that “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.”

One of the benefits of the Water Balance Model Partnership is networking. The City  of Courtenay and CITY OF SURREY  have been sharing their lessons learned. David Hislop highlighted the City of Surrey experience in soil depth enforcement in the East Clayton Sustainable Community. David Hislop has prepared a visual complete with sound effects to illustrate the magic of dirt.

For more information on the East Clayton Sustainable Community, including theDavid hislop, city of surrey, june 2006 results of a performance monitoring program for rainfall infiltration, please click here to view a presentation that was made in December 2006 as part of the GVRD Sustainability Community Breakfast Series. Also, please click on Showcasing Innovation in Surrey for a related story on an event which was hosted by the City in June 2006 in collaboration with the Green Infrastructure Partnership. This involved a guided tour for Greater Vancouver municipalities, with colour commentary provided by David Hislop.

Richard boase, 2007 wbm partners forum

Richard Boase of the DISTRICT OF NORTH VANCOUVER described the partnership between the University of BC and the three North Shore municipalities to implement the precedent-setting Tree Canopy Research Project. “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. One of our research interests is to determine the effectiveness of a single tree versus that of a cluster of trees. The research results will be used to populate the Tree Canopy Module in the Water Balance Model.”

UBC tree canopy research project - 60 stations

According to Richard Boase, “This project has opened the door to a long-term partnership with UBC to bring science into the community. There is also broad-based community participation. We have engaged the North Shore Mentally Handicapped Association to mass produce the wooden support structures for the tree canopy climate stations. We have engaged community volunteers in neighbourhoods such as Clovelly-Caulfeild in West Vancouver. At the end of the day, the project will enable communities to make informed planning decisions about designing with nature.”

UBC tree canopy research project - community engagement

To view Richard's presentation, please click on this link to The Story of the UBC Tree Canopy Interception Research Project


Water Balance Model Partners Forum

Hosted by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the Partners Forum provided a timely opportunity to roll out ‘Beyond the Guidebook', a runoff-based approach to drainage modeling that connects the dots between source control evaluation and stream health assessment. 

IGP vision (360 pixels), march 2007

Special guests at the Partners Forum included Liliana Bozic (City of Calgary), Chair of the Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership (ALIDP); Dr. Charles Rowney, the designated Scientific Authority for the Water Balance Model; and Linda Pechacek (from Houston, Texas), representing the Urban Water Resources Research Council. For the complete story on the Partners Forum, please click here.


Posted May 2007