FLASHBACK TO 2009: Stormwater Management, Low Impact Development, Sustainable Drainage, Green Infrastructure, RAINwater Management…. what is an appropriate term to use?
Note to Reader:
For more than a decade, the language used by drainage practitioners around the world has been changing to reflect the evolving objectives in doing business differently. Stormwater Management, Low Impact Development, Sustainable Drainage, Green Infrastructure, RAINwater Management…. what is an appropriate term to use? In British Columbia, the Water Sustainability Action Plan is endeavouring to provide clarity of meaning so that there will be consistency of understanding province-wide. This led to release of an explanatory document in March 2009.
How to Provide Clarity of Meaning?
“It is important to use descriptions which are linked more closely with the objectives and ideas – stormwater, sustainability, runoff, rainwater, infrastructure, etc,” stated Robert Hicks, Senior Engineer with Metro Vancouver, in the document released by the Water Sustainability Action Plan. “Ideally, the right choice of wording will frame the concepts clearly, and provide the terminology with some longevity. Clarity will help with uptake – jargon and anachronism needs to be avoided as they can obscure the objectives and ideas.”
Look to Europe
“In Germany, it is Regenwasser (rainwater) and Nahenatur Entwaesserung (near natural drainage). In the UK, ‘sustainable urban drainage systems’ (SUDS) is used. The use of these terms have inspired many BC rainwater management professionals to focus on function and solution – site level, rainwater, green, integrated, infrastructure, etc. As a result, terms like ‘on-site rainwater management’, ‘at source rainwater management’, ‘runoff source-control’, ‘site-level stormwater’, and ‘green infrastructure’ are used in BC and are becoming part of the provincial government’s vocabulary.”
“Another perspective is perhaps that stormwater is the contaminated, concentrated dirtied runoff, while rainwater is the pure resource. We have spend much effort dealing with problems created through a lack of integrated management, only to realise that the most effect management is at the source, and the resource level.”
Link to Function and Purpose
“There is not yet a single common term in use in BC, but there appears to be very positive acceptance of these terms by the various audiences. They more clearly link to the function and purpose. The term Low Impact Development does not provide the same meaning across Canada; and I believe it is likely to become outdated jargon,” concludes Robert Hicks.
To Learn More:
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