Primer on Integrated Rainwater and Groundwater Management for Lands on Vancouver Island and Beyond (released April 2012)

Note to Reader:

This Primer is the third in a series of guidance documents released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability since November 2011. Core concepts presented in these companion documents provide an educational foundation for rainwater management in a watershed context. To download a copy, click on Primer on Integrated Raiinwater & Groundwater Management for Lands on Vancouver Island and Beyond.

Mimic the Water Balance

“Released in 2008, Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan is a call to action to prepare communities for change and do business differently,” states Ted van der Gulik, Senior Engineer in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership.

“Actions and targets in Living Water Smart establish expectations as to how land will be developed and water will be used. Now, the Primer on Integrated Rainwater and Groundwater Management for Lands on Vancouver Island and Beyond provides local governments with guidance for implementation of Living Water Smart principles on the ground.”

“The Primer is an outcome of collaboration involving Living Rivers, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, the Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, and the City of Parksville. The Primer builds on the technical foundation developed by the Water Balance Model Partnership,” adds Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

Primer Links Rainfall, the Landscape, Groundwater and Streamflow

The Primer introduces building blocks that can inform ‘water-centric’ policy development by BC municipalities. Embedding a science-based understanding in an Official Community Plan (OCP), for example, can make a difference on the ground. Thus, the Primer objectives are three-fold:

  • provide insight into the regulatory and educational context for moving from awareness to action in order to protect watershed and stream health in BC;
  • explain how introduction of the Rainfall Spectrum concept a decade ago led us to look at rainfall differently in BC;
  • foreshadow how pioneer research in the Englishman River watershed in the City of Parksville on Vancouver Island can similarly lead us to look at groundwater differently.

The City of Parksville OCP is a demonstration application for the Primer. The learning captured in this Primer is being shared with other local governments on Vancouver Island. Knowledge-sharing is being facilitated through the Inter-Regional Education Initiative.

City of Parksville Demonstration Application

“The Primer is written for expert and non-expert audiences,” reports Craig Wightman, Senior Fisheries Biologist with the BC Conservation Foundation, and a Primer co-author.

“The Primer introduces the issue of the ‘unfunded infrastructure liability’. Viewing the watershed through an asset management lens provides local governments with a driver to require that development practices mimic the Water Balance.”

“Parksville’s current OCP Review provides a great opportunity to formally recognize the value and inter-dependence of the City’s small stream and groundwater resources, and their importance to people and the region’s highly diverse fish and wildlife populations.  The term ‘livable community’ can take on new relevance in this process, and ensure Parksville remains a community of choice for residents and visitors alike.”


To download a copy, click on Primer on Integrated Raiinwater & Groundwater Management for Lands on Vancouver Island and Beyond.

For a section-by-section synopsis of the Primer storyline, click on the following link to Table 1. The first five sections of this Primer establish the context for a science-based, integrated and holistic approach to rainwater and groundwater management. This context allows local governments to establish expectations: This is what we want to collectively and incrementally achieve over time, and this is how we will work together to get there.

To close the loop, the sixth and last section provides guidance so that champions in the local government setting will be informed and can then lead the move from awareness to action.

To download the individual sections, click on the links below:

Cover Page


About this Primer

Chapter 1 – Background / Context

Chapter 2 – Connect Water, Land and People

Chapter 3 – Look at Rainfall Differently

Chapter 4 – Protect Stream Health

Chapter 5 – Look at Groundwater Differently

Chapter 6 – Mimic the Water Balance

Chapter 7 – Guidance Documents