Understanding the British Columbia Experience – City of Calgary Convenes Workshop on Rainwater Management
When the City of Calgary's Watershed Management Team was developing a Best Management Practices and Source Control Manual, it researched the experience of other jurisdictions. In March 2005, the City convened an internal workshop for its Water and Wastewater Divisions so that City staff could gain a firsthand understanding of the path that British Columbia has followed in managing rainwater runoff, and how it is making a difference in providing higher levels of environmental protection.
The Workshop Team
The workshop was conducted by Kim Stephens, Project Coordinator for the BC-based Inter-Governmental Partnership that has developed the Water Balance Model, and Cori Barraclough, representing the Nature's Revenue Streams initiative.
According to Liliana Bozic, Project Manager for development of the City's Manual: “Having Kim and Cori bring the BC experience to life through on-the-ground case study examples reallly helped us to focus on what drives the need for change and how to collaborate to implement improved standards of practice.”
To view the material presented at the workshop, click on this link to Collaborative Context for an Inter-Provincial Partnership
Drainage Issues are Universal
In providing the workshop participants with context, Mr. Stephens explained that: “Alberta and British Columbia have different climates, but the issues associated with land development are universal. We are both witnessing unprecedented population growth. As a consequence, the landscape is being transformed, the natural hydrology altered, and wetlands/creeks are being eliminated or trashed.”
Through a comprehensive Outreach and Continuing Education Program for the Water Balance Model, the BC-based Inter-Governmental Partnership is promoting changes in land development practices so that:
- The built environment will preserve and/or restore the natural water balance over time.
- Performance targets will be achieved for rainwater runoff volume reduction and flow rate reduction at the source, where rain falls.
Turning Green into Gold
The Nature's Revenue Streams (NRS) initiative complements the Water Balance Model by promoting stream restoration through an approach that Cori Barraclough described as 'engineered ecology'. NRS is a 3-year public-private project, based in Saanich BC, which links 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.
According to Cori: “Time is money. What we have been able to demonstrate through demonstration projects is that stream restoration can be paid for by willing developers with the interest money saved as a result of expedited approvals.”
Posted April 2005