DRainscapes video – a teaching tool for reaching a broad audience, states UBC's Daniel Roehr

Note to Reader:

Framed for a broad audience, “DRainscapes” is a three-minute animation that explains the link between a single yard and the watershed system. The tools for slowing, sinking and spreading rainwater runoff are broken down into five simply illustrated categories. DRainscapes is now coupled with the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners to spark interest and a readiness to implement practices that ensure healthy and resilient watersheds for present and future generations to enjoy.

Click on the image above to view the DRainscapes video (embedded on the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners)

Click on the image above to view the DRainscapes video
(embedded on the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners)

Partnership for Water Sustainability couples Water Balance Express with DRainscapes video

2Peter-Law_Sep2015_120p“In 2002, looking at rainfall differently led the Province of British Columbia to adopt the Water Balance Methodology, initiate a performance target approach to capturing rain where it falls, and initiate changes in the ways rainwater runoff is returned to streams. The goal is protect watershed and stream health,” states Peter Law, a founding Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. Prior to retirement from government, he was with the Ministry of Environment.

Link Individual Yards to the Watershed

Looking at rainfall differently resulted in the Water Balance Model for British Columbia (WBM), a web-based scenario comparison tool. Now, the WBM Express for Landowners provides local governments with the capability to promote changes in practice on individual properties.

The web interface for the WBM Express is colourful, effective, fast and no more complex than the dash board of a car, stripping the solution down to a few sliders that drive dials. Outcomes and impacts on stream health are displayed in real time. The Express guides the property owner through a simple and visually oriented set of sizing options for rain gardens, cisterns, infiltration swales and landscaping.

Start with a Sound-Bite and
Build Understanding

“Considering the environmental conscientiousness of our time, one might expect that the role of landscape architecture in mending environmental systems would be well understood by the general public,” muse co-authors Daniel Roehr and Lindsey Fryett in an article published in Landscapes Magazine. He is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia. She is a graduate of the Master of Landscape daniel_roehr_UBCArchitecture program.

“Yet the nature of our profession, which virtues the slow and ‘growing’ landscape and builds on a deep understanding of environmental systems, is in contrast with the sound-bite and headline style of information sharing that we have become accustomed to.”

“Finding ways to share the tools of our profession with wide audiences is increasingly necessary. It defines our ability to quickly adapt to our increasingly erratic environment, as citizens and cities implement the tools we have created to mitigate the impacts of development and climate change.”

Getting the Message Out

“In 2014, The Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation (LACF) and The University of British Columbia Sustainability Initiative granted support for our team to produce DRainscapes. Academic terminology was traded in for more palatable terms and data Lindsey Fryett_120pwas converted into relatable measurements – for example, average rainfall in a yard is explained in bottles of water.”

“The animation can be embedded into websites or shared via links, providing landscape architects, design professionals, environmental advocacy groups and educators with an easy-to-use teaching tool.”

“A wealth of valuable research has been done but the research must be applied in everyday landscapes. Tools such as this video will help us to quickly and effectively communicate key messages, so that the places we build enhance the ecosystems we live in,” conclude Daniel Roehr and Lindsey Fryett.

Slow, Sink and Spread Rainwater Runoff

Feast-&-Famine_Richard-Boase_Dec2015_120p“The DRainscapes video is a highly effective communication tool. It engages the viewer. Daniel Roehr and his UBC team have done an exceptional job. DRainscapes is now embedded at the front-end of the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners,” states Richard Boase, Environmental Protection Officer with the District of North Vancouver. The web-based Water Balance Express for North Vancouver is one of six local government applications that are either up and running, or nearing completion.

“By demystifying technical jargon, DRrainscapes creates an understanding of how each homeowner can slow, sink and spread rainwater runoff. Applying the Water Balance Express, homeowners can then quickly size and test landscape-based solutions – such as rain gardens and absorbent soil – that slow, sink and spread rainwater.”Glenn Westendorp3_Dec2015_120p

“With the Water Balance Express, we finally have a means to engage the general public and educate them on the simplicity of implementing their own onsite rainwater management tools,” adds Glenn Westendorp, Works Superintendent with the Town of Comox on Vancouver Island.