Rainwater Management in Sooke: District develops BC's first 'Liquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater'



Note to Readers:

The following story about innovation and leadership in the District of Sooke is extracted from Chapter 7 of Beyond the Guidebook 2010, released in June 2010. This water-centric guidance document tells the stories of how change is being implemented on the ground in BC


District of sooke - location map (360p)


Framework for On-the-Ground Solutions

The District of Sooke is the first BC municipality to produce a stand-alone Laura byrne (120p) - district of sookeLiquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater. “We followed the Ministry of Environment’s ‘Proposed Guidelines for Preparing Liquid Waste Management Plans’, released in March 2004. At the same time, we updated our OCP. The timing was perfect. This provided direction,” reports Laura Byrne, Engineering Technologist.


Sharing and Collaboration

“Partnerships are so vital. Furthermore, networking was key to doing the Liquid Waste Management Plan affordably. By working with other agencies, and not duplicating efforts, we got it done. Now we are proceeding with development of Rainwater Management Plans for 18 watersheds over 7 years. Four are completed.”

“Because Sooke is a small municipality with limited financial resources, we have had to pare down and make the plans practical in order to be affordable. Again, networking and collaboration are making it possible for us to do this effectively.”

“The Rainwater Management Plans provide a framework for the development of on-the-ground solutions for the management of rainwater at a watershed scale. Also, they integrate planning for drainage infrastructure and ecological assessment and restoration with municipal planning processes. This integrated approach provides solutions to drainage and ecological concerns.  We recognize the value of healthy watersheds – we know what we have to protect.”


Rainwater Source Control

The District of Sooke is working on revising its Subdivision and Development Standards Bylaw to require green infrastructure for rainwater runoff capture. It also encourages the use of the Water Balance Model.

The Bylaw states that: “A Water Balance Model or other acceptable model will be required for all development over 5 ha. A rainwater model will be required for small lots to provide proof of rainwater management techniques. The Director of Engineering may require WBM analysis of smaller parcels depending upon the topography or proximity to streams, ocean frontage or wetlands.”


‘Green’ Road

“The case study sharing exercise organized by View Royal’s Emmet McCusker in 2008 as part of the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series was tremendous. Our participation reaffirmed the direction Sooke was heading. We are now proceeding with construction of our ‘green’ road. The View Royal showcasing day provided us with tangible value!”, concludes Laura Byrne.


2008 showcasing innovation in view royal - langford breakout group


Beyond the Guidebook 2010

Released in June 2010 at the ‘Dialogue in Nanaimo’, Beyond the Guidebook 2010 describes how water sustainability can and will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices.

Beyond the Guidebook 2010 demonstrates that the practitioner culture is changing as an outcome of collaboration, partnerships and alignment; and provides local governments with ‘how to’ guidance for developing outcome-oriented urban watershed plans.

To download a copy, click on Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia


Posted August 2010