Sustainable Rainwater Management in the District of Sooke: What Does It Look Like?
2012 Building SustainAble Communities Conference showcases innovation
The Fresh Outlook Foundation is hosting its 5th Building SustainAble Communities conference February 27th to March 1st, 2012 in Kelowna, BC, Canada. The program–inspired by 75 industry experts on 11 planning committees–features a variety of plenaries, breakouts, panels, workshops, debates, and interactive sessions to provide opportunities for enhanced communication and collaboration.
“There is a special day-long session devoted to sustainable water management issues. Six panel sessions will address different aspects of water and provide a broad-brush picture of the innovation that is emerging in British Columbia. The Sustainable Rainwater Management session will set the stage for a Water Balance Model companion event organized by the Okanagan Basin Water Board,” reports Joanne deVries, Fresh Outlook Founder and CEO.
The Rainwater Panel will present a series of ‘vignettes’ to showcase the experience of local governments that are BC leaders in innovation. These vignettes will be cascading in providing the audience with a picture of what ‘Sustainable Rainwater Management” looks like at three scales: watershed basin, watershed catchment and project site.
The vignettes will illustrate desired outcomes for the current “ISMP Course Correction” initiative in BC, where ISMP is the acronym for Integrated Stormwater Management Plan. The unifying theme for the session is: Integrate the site with the watershed and stream to protect watershed and stream health.
The Rainwater Panel comprises Kim Stephens (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC), Laura Byrne (District of Sooke), Richard Boase (District of North Vancouver) and Carrie Baron (City of Surrey). To learn more about the Rainwater Panel session, click on SustainableRainwater Management: What Does It Look Like?
District of Sooke’s Rainwater Management Plan
The District of Sooke on Vancouver Island has taken a proactive approach to wastewater and rainwater management and is recognizing the significance of environmental protection of the region. Sooke is the first community in British Columbia to integrate both Sanitary and Rainwater LWMPs (Liquid Waste Management Plans). The plan requirements provide clear direction to the District of Sooke to ensure that:
- Municipal rainwater infrastructure is developed in a manner that will result in healthy watercourses and a healthy near shore marine environment;
- Watershed based management approaches implemented to protect the District of Sooke’s watersheds;
- Low impact development techniques are employed to maintain, and where possible restore the pre-development hydrologic regime of urbanized and developing watersheds;
- A green infrastructure approach to rainwater management is taken to provide for cleaner air through well treed riparian zones and streetscapes; and
- Regulatory policies, guidelines and options are discussed on an ongoing basis.
“The District of Sooke has exceeded provincial requirements for liquid waste management and created a rainwater management plan that makes protecting water quality a guiding principle in land use decisions,” states Laura Byrne, the District’s project manager for plan development.
“Because our rainwater management plan is outcome-oriented, it has stayed true to Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. The plan works on three principles: protect existing water quality, prevent future damage, and remediate areas that may already be damaged. The District aims to improve water quality in Sooke Harbour and the Sooke Basin to the point where a longstanding ban on shellfish harvesting can be lifted.”
“To achieve the community vision for healthy streams and harbour, the District encourages green infrastructure for rainwater capture and also encourages use of the Water Balance Model. In fact, the draft Subdivision and Development Standard Bylaw includes a requirement for developers to employ the Water Balance Model for all developments, regardless of the number of lots. Sooke recognizes that the water balance methodology links rainfall to streams, and this is how we will protect our streams,” concludes Laura Byrne.
To Learn More:
To read stories posted previously on the WaterBucket website, click on the following links:
- Infrastructure Canada grant enables District of Sooke to develop Rainwater Management Plan
- Rainwater Management in Sooke: District develops BC’s first ‘Liquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater’
- District of Sooke establishes British Columbia precedent with its ‘Liquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater’
- “Sooke’s Liquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater provides clear guidance for the next 10 years,” says the District’s Laura Byrne
- Sooke is first community in British Columbia to integrate both rainwater and sanitary in a Liquid Waste Management Plan.
Enhanced rainwater management will have direct effects on the environment (watercourses and watersheds), public health and well-being and the ways in which municipal infrastructure and private land is developed. For more information and to download the Sooke plan, click here.
Posted February 2012