Convening for Action in Metro Vancouver: Goal of Resilient Rainwater Management is "Sustainable Watershed Systems" (Sept 2015)


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Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management

In September 2015, Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC met with Metro Vancouver’s Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (SILG), a technical committee comprising representatives of the region’s municipalities and other agencies. Kim Stephens is the Partnership’s Executive Director.

Kim Stephens_Sep-2015_120pHis presentation to SILG initiated 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).

“The IREI provides local government with a mechanism to share outcomes and cross-pollinate experience with each other,” stated Kim Stephens.

What Happens on the Land Matters!

“A systems approach to watershed health and protection recognizes that actions on the land have consequences for the three pathways to streams and hence the water balance of the watershed. Those consequences are felt in both dry weather and wet weather – too little or too much water, respectively,” Kim Stephens informed the SILG  audience.

BC_provincial-game-changers-176x300“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.”

“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.”

Resilient Rainwater Management

Resilient Rainwater Management accounts for all rainfall-days per year. Emphasis is on soil-water interaction, how rainwater reaches streams via three pathways in a watershed (i.e. surface runoff, lateral interflow in shallow soils, deep groundwater), and performance targets for ‘design with nature’ solutions. These address both water supply and drainage. The technical foundation is the Water Balance Methodology.

Sustainable Service Delivery builds on the principles of Asset Management. It integrates land use, infrastructure servicing, financial and ecological planning. Emphasis is on the Levels-of-Service that assets provide, and ‘what level is affordable’ over time. Nature is an asset and provides ‘services’. The benefits and value of ‘design with nature’ solutions grow over time.

“Released in December 2014, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework points the way to a holistic and integrated approach to asset management. Nature, and the ecosystem services that it provides, are a fundamental and integral part of a community’s infrastructure system,” Kim Stephens emphasized.

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Town of Gibsons “Eco-Asset Strategy”

The presentation by Kim Stephens followed a webinar by David Newman, Director of Engineering with the Town of Gibsons. Dave Newman shared the story of how the Town has embraced natural capital valuation and integrated natural capital Dave Newman_Gibsons_120passets, and the ecosystem services they provide, into the Town’s infrastructure.

“Natural capital assets, such as green space, aquifers, foreshore area and creeks, can be as effective as engineered (or grey) infrastructure in water management. In some areas, they provide clear advantages over engineered infrastructure,” stated Dave Newman.

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 read the story posted elsewhere on the Rainwater Management community-of-interest about the presentation by Dave Newman, click on Looking at Rainfall Differently: Town of Gibsons “Eco-Asset Strategy” Incorporates Natural Capital in Infrastructure Management.

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