Across Canada Workshop Series on Resilient Rainwater Management to Showcase Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool


Note to Reader:

Starting on October 23 and ending on November 3, the 2014 Across Canada Workshop Series on Resilient Rainwater Management will feature workshop events in five cities in four provinces. Practitioners will have an opportunity to learn about web-based tools developed in British Columbia for climate adaptation and watershed health. Below, the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool is profiled.

Across Canada Workshop Series_Aug2014

Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool Can Help Local Governments Save Money

Federal funding support provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative Program enabled the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia to develop the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool as an add-on to the Water Balance Model (WBM) decision support tool.

Although housed on the same site, the web-based Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool is actually stand-alone from the WBM because it addresses a different evaluation need on the part of local governments. The WBM is used for green infrastructure evaluation whereas the Screening Tool is applied to drainage conveyance systems.

An Intermediate Step in the Assessment Process

“The need for the screening tool was identified in response to a concern identified by Metro Vancouver municipalities and highlighted by the advisory Reference Panel during development of the region’s Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan. This is a regulatory tool Kim Stephens_May2014_120pthat was approved by the BC Minister of Environment in 2011. It incorporated the Reference Panel’s recommendations,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director and Chair of the Reference Panel (2008-2010).

“The Reference Panel Final Report stated that plans that did not integrate land use and drainage planning had resulted in unaffordable multi-million dollar infrastructure budget items that had become municipal liabilities, without providing offsetting stream health benefits. The report pointed out that this was resulting in paralysis. A year later, recognition of the need to look at drainage analysis differently resulted in Ministry of Environment support and federal funding to develop the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool to add to the practitioner toolbox.”

“The screening tool is not about criticising conventional drainage practices. It is about looking for simpler methods to determine if there is a problem that needs detailed Jim-Dumont_2011_120panalysis. It is not, and never was, intended to be a replacement for detailed analyses,” explains Jim Dumont, the Partnership’s Engineering Applications Authority.

“It should be seen as an intermediary step in the assessment process that also happens to include the opportunity to provide a look at how climate change will affect the drainage systems.”

Achieve More At Less Cost: Local Governments Can Rate Drainage System Capacity Without Need for Expensive Modelling of Every Pipe

“The screening tool examines the pipe system that is tributary to a drainage outlet or outfall. Assessing catchments one-by-one keeps the analysis logical, simple and manageable,” continues Jim Dumont.

“Every pipe within each catchment is evaluated by examining the INSTALLED PIPE CAPACIY. Based on detailed modelling experience, we know that ‘problems’ fall within a narrow range. The lesson learned is that one need not model every section of pipe. This is why the screening tool compares installed pipe capacity to design discharge.”

“The Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool applies these lessons learned to establish priorities and make decisions. The Level-of-Service approach is inexpensive and provides relevant information for capital planning. It does this without the detailed and expensive simulation of the drainage system. The process establishes existing system capacity and then identifies those parts that do not meet this standard. These can be prioritized and entered into a capital plan.”

“By applying  the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool, it is now quite easy for local governments to check and verify the relative impact of a changing climate on conveyance capacity. The resilience of a system depends on the capacity a system has now and how drastic future climate change might be. The tool also makes it is easy to assess the relative significance of changes in land use, in particular densification. Local governments can now consider both climate change and land use change at the same time, and with the same tool,” concludes Jim Dumont.

To Learn More:

To download a copy of an article published in the Spring 2012 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter, click on Your Assets? – Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool Saves Money! and scroll down to page 2.

To read a comprehensive story posted elsewhere on the Rainwater Management community-of-interest, click on Achieve More At Less Cost: Local Governments Can Rate Drainage System Capacity Without Need for Expensive Modelling of Every Pipe

To read about the District of North Vancouver’s perspective, click on Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool: A Web-Based Application of Common-Sense Engineering

Also, click on British Columbia Partnership announces that Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool is now LIVE! to access the Water Balance Model website.