District of Central Saanich innovation was THE catalyst for creation of the "Water Balance Model Express"
Central Saanich Bylaw prescribes use of Water Balance Model
Nirmal Bhattacharya was the District of Central Saanich Municipal Engineer until his retirement in August 2011. Nirmal was also a Water Balance Model (WBM) “champion’ during his tenure with the District.
Creating a Legacy
“Nirmal can take satisfaction that his personal legacy will ultimately include the Water Balance Model Express. In February 2010, Central Saanich adopted its Surface Water Management Bylaw. About that time, we had a discussion with Nirmal and his colleague Roland Rocheleau. Their insights about implementation provided us with inspiration on how to evolve the WBM to meet the needs of the individual homeowner,” recalls Richard Boase, Co-Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership. “In 2012, we will bring this vision to fruition. Thank you, Nirmal, for your contribution.”
Vision for the WBM Express
“The Central Saanich Bylaw encourages use of the Water Balance Model at the individual property scale. When homeowners go to a ‘rainwater management link’ on the host local government website, our ultimate vision is that they will be able to: type in their address; access a version of the WBM that has pre-set values (for climate, land use); apply source controls; run scenarios; and print a report,” continues Richard Boase.
“Looking back, our conference call with Nirmal and Roland in early 2010 was what one would describe as a game-changer,” adds Ted van der Gulik, Partnership Chair. “We intuitively realized that we were at a cross-roads in terms of how communities implement the WBM. We knew that we had to do something completely different to support what Central Saanich was endeavouring to accomplish with their bylaw. The impact of the contribution by Central Saanich to a new way of doing business cannot be underestimated.”
Restore the Water Balance
“The Bylaw gives us the means to restore the water balance when properties redevelop. Our understanding is that Central Saanich is the only BC municipality to have this type of bylaw. Other municipalities have policies,” stated Nirmal after the Bylaw had been adopted.
“We are already seeing how people are viewing their properties differently now that we can point them to the Water Balance Model. Their use of the tool is raising their awareness of how they can achieve rainfall capture; and they are learning how to use soil and landscaping as an alternative to storage tanks,” concludes Roland Rocheleau.