Water Balance Model Attracts World-Wide Audience!
Anyone with an Internet Connection can access the Water Balance Model
Users around the world are discovering the Water Balance Model for Canada and provincial homepages, reports Ted van der Gulik (British Columbia MInistry of Agriculture and Lands), Chair of the British Columbia Inter-Governmental Partnership that developed this scenario modeling and decision support tool. “In recent months, we have observed a surge in interest as measured by the number of users logging on for a Free Trial Account. On a slow day, we will get one subscriber. On many days there will be two or three. Since the start of the year, there has been a steady flow of people taking advantage of the opportunity to try out the model”, noted van der Gulik.
In addition to users from all over Canada and United States, Free Trial Accounts have been opened by users around the world. This encompasses Australia, New Zealand, many of the European countries, the Middle East. Africa and parts of Asia, including China and South Korea. “We have been surprised that people in China, Pakistan and elsewhere have discovered the Water Balance Model. In November 2002, when we made what was then a bold decision to go directly to the Internet, I recall that we joked about what would we do if someone in Timbuctoo wanted to become a paying subscriber. It just seemed so unlikely that we would attract world-wide interest. Clearly, we have achieved the unlikely”, added van der Gulik.
Tiered Access Protocol
There are three categories of model users, each with a different degree of access to the model's various features:
- general users
- paying subscribers
- project partners
For more details on each category, click on Tiered Access Protocol. A 'general user' is defined as anyone in the world with Internat access. This option allows interested individuals to log-on for a free 7-day trial account. According to van der Gulik, “The database is constantly purged so that it remains managable. This is the reason for the 7-day limitation. A paying subscriber is defined as anyone who wishes to have more options than a general user. Typically paying subscribers will be consulting companies that have project work where the Water Balance Model is a useful tool for site planning and rainwater runoff analysis.”
Decision to Build a National Portal
The early success of the Water Balance Model in British Columbia, particularly in promoting an understanding of how to improve the built environment and protect the natural environment, generated interest in expanding the focus of the tool to reach a national audience. According to Cate Soroczan, Policy and Research Division of CMHC: “This early success led to the decision by Environment Canada, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Province of British Columbia to join forces to create a truly national Water Balance Model for Canada that achieves three outcomes:
- Enable local government jurisdictions and stewardship groups in other provinces to share in the knowledge gained in British Columbia;
- Generate a nationwide discussion forum on sustainable drainage initiatives; and
- Access additional sources of funding to accelerate the development of the Water Balance Model.”
To date, the structure and content placeholders for provincial rainwater management communities-of-interest have been created for five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia.