Partnership for Water Sustainability initiates soft rollout of "Beyond the Guidebook 2015" in Metro Vancouver
Note to Reader:
In September 2015, Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC met with Metro Vancouver’s Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group, a technical committee comprising representatives of the region’s municipalities and other agencies, to initiate what the Partnership describes as a “soft rollout” of Beyond the Guidebook 2015: Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management. This is a deliverable under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI).
Launched in 2012, the IREI is endorsed by five Regional Boards representing 75% of BC’s population. In April 2015, all five recommitted through 2017. The Partnership is the secretariat. The IREI provides local government with a mechanism to share outcomes and cross-pollinate experience with each other.
Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management
Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is the third in a series of guidance documents that build on Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released by the Province in 2002. By applying the Water Balance Methodology, the Guidebook vision is that community development activities and further alteration of the built environment would result in cumulative benefits, not impacts.
In 2002, the Guidebook identified a path forward for local governments. The ‘Beyond the Guidebook Series’ documents the progress of local government champions who are leading implementation of practices that would restore hydrologic integrity after land is urbanized.
Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is a work-in-progress and will be released later in the year. In the meantime, a soft rollout has commenced to raise awareness of core concepts and generate interest. A similar approach was successfully followed in 2002 with the Guidebook.
Watershed Systems as Infrastructure Assets
A watershed is an integrated system, is infrastructure, and must be viewed as an asset that provides municipal services. Watershed systems thinking covers the continuum from water supply to drainage, and encompasses human and/or ecosystem needs.
“One of my purposes in meeting with SILG was to provide them with both context and a look ahead regarding the relevance to them of three landmark initiatives that came to fruition in 2014, namely: Water Sustainability Act, Develop with Care 2014, and Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. Together the three provide a platform for integrated and coordinated actions to protect watershed health,” reports Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.
“The three provincial initiatives are game-changers. They are drivers for a desired outcome that the Partnership is branding as Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management. Over the next two years, the IREI program would progressively inform and educate an expanding network of practitioners on how to integrate watershed systems thinking and climate change adaptation into asset management.”
Water Balance Express for Landowners
The Metro Vancouver Board amended the 2012 Budget to add a line item to co-fund the Water Balance Express for Landowners. Interfaced with Google Maps/Earth, the Express is an online tool that helps property owners quantify how well their properties capture, sink and spread rainwater runoff and do their share to meet pre-set watershed targets for volume, infiltration and flow.
“Metro Vancouver contributed $50,000 because widespread use of this decision tool will help Metro Vancouver and members fulfil our regulatory commitments. The region and members have committed to protecting stream and watershed health. This will be accomplished by managing rain where it falls. Use of the Water Balance Model can help municipalities to define achievable and affordable performance targets at the watershed, neighbourhood and site scales,” stated Metro Vancouver Chair Greg Moore in 2012 when he announced the grant.
“The SILG meeting was a timely opportunity for me to announce that the first three version of the Water Balance Express for Landowners (Surrey, Coquitlam and North Vancouver District) would be unveiled at the Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Partners Forum later in Fall 2015. The majority of Metro Vancouver municipalities are Water Balance Partners,” states Kim Stephens.
To Learn More:
To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Watershed Health, Resilient Rainwater Management and Sustainable Service Delivery: Collaborative Initiatives Will Help Local Governments Better Deliver on Regulatory Compliance.
To download a copy of the Primer on Water Balance Methodology for Protecting Watershed Health, click here.