LEADING CHANGE: Water Balance Pathway to a Water-Resilient Future (Sitelines Magazine, June 2016)

Note to Reader:

Sitelines-Magazine_June2016_op-edSitelines magazine is a publication of the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA). Published bi-monthly, BCSLA has a longstanding practice of inviting partner organizations to take on a co-editor role and provide the content for an issue featuring the partner.

The June 2016 issue featured the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.Reproduced below is the Op-Ed written by Kim A Stephens, Guest Editor and Partnership Executive Director. This was an opportunity to showcase initiatives and tools.


CATHEDRAL THINKING: A far-reaching vision, a well thought-out blueprint, and a shared commitment to long-term implementation

“The Water Balance of watersheds in urban areas is out of balance,” wrote Kim Stephens. “A legacy of community and infrastructure design practices has failed to protect the water balance. In an era when BC’s climate is changing (wetter, warmer winters and longer, drier summers), the consequences are feast AND famine, flood AND drought.”

“A watershed is an integrated system. Restoring hydrologic integrity, and thus the Water Balance, is the pathway to a water-resilient future. Achieving this will require a long-term commitment by the community at large, successive elected Councils, and generations of land AND water professionals.”

Kim Stephens_June2016_500p“In embarking on this journey, we can learn from our ancestors. The grand creations of antiquity were not designed with a quarterly report or 4-year election term in mind. The builders of great cathedrals in medieval times thought in terms of multiple generations carrying out their work, to complete a dream that would not be realised until long after the originator’s death. When one thinks of a cathedral two aspects come to mind: a soaring aspiration; and a grounded structure firmly planted throughout time.”

“Cathedral thinking aptly describes the philosophy that guides the work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. We inform, educate, train and mentor with a view to the long-term and creating a lasting legacy. The Partnership’s current leadership team may not be around to witness the fruition of our work. However, we will have made a difference – by raising awareness, translating science-based understanding into methodologies and tools, and helping decision-makers set actions in motion.”

“In this special issue on a Water Balance Pathway to a Water-Resilient Future we explain that the natural pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are nature’s “infrastructure assets”. They provide Water Balance Services that blend with services provided by engineered assets (infrastructure). We start out at a high level, present tools developed by the Partnership, and conclude with a watershed focus.”

To Learn More:

Download In this issue, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC presents WATER BALANCE PATHWAY TO A WATER-RESILIENT FUTURE, June 2016, to read the complete set of 9 articles published in Sitelines Magazine.