DESIGN WITH NATURE: Forester University webinar looks at the water cycle with fresh eyes and showcases how to apply new approaches, methodologies and tools

Note to Reader:

Located in California, Forester University offers live, educational webinars and on-demand webcasts for professionals in Stormwater, Water Efficiency, Erosion Control, and the public utility sector to earn credits, or to simply learn something new.

The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is partnering with Forester University to share, via webinar on May 2nd 2017, the British Columbia innovation and experience that has resulted in the whole-system, water balance approach that is the hydrologic modelling foundation for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management.

This new way of thinking views watersheds as infrastructure assets. This is an important first step towards changing the engineering standard of practice. The desired outcome is a standard of practice that is state-of-the-art and reflects real-world hydrology.

Think Differently and
‘Design with Nature’

“The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is excited to announce our collaboration with Forester University in California,” states Richard Boase, Partnership Vice-President. “The Partnership and Forester share a vision for effective management of land and water resources. This vision provides the backdrop for equipping land and water professionals with the tools and experience to think differently and design with nature.”

A Webinar That Cannot Be Missed

“We are delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont of the Partnership share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Emily Shine_Forester Media_2017_trimmed2_120pBalance Methodology, in their upcoming, featured webinar,” continues Emily Shine, the manager of Forester’s webinar program.

“At Forester University, we aim to position ourselves at the forefront of innovation in rainwater management and green infrastructure, and that is why we are calling Water Balance Methodology a webinar that cannot be missed.

On Coming to Terms with Voodoo Hydrology

“Water Balance Methodology nicely complements Andy Reese’s annual Voodoo Hydrology webinar series, one of the most popular in the Forester curriculum,” adds Emily Shine. “Voodoo Hydrology is a primer on the pitfalls of urban hydrology and the design storm methods drainage designers typically use.”

According to Jim Dumont, the Partnership’s Engineering Applications Authority, “So what is the nub of the issue? In standard practice, only surface runoff is considered with these methods, and this has led to degraded streams. The other pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are ignored. Yet we do need to mimic nature. If we are going to disrupt those other pathways when we develop land, we must fix or replace them.”


Mimicking Nature Saves Money

The Water Balance Methodology has its genesis in the whole-system approach that Dr. Ray Linsley (1917-1990) championed more than 60 years ago. As a professor at Stanford University, he pioneered the development of continuous hydrologic simulation as the foundation for water balance management.

Webinar Overview

“In the webinar, we will begin by examining how the protection of watershed and stream health in the urban environment ultimately depends on maintaining the natural proportion of rainwater entering streams via three pathways: overland runoff, shallow interflow and deep groundwater flow,” explains Jim Dumont.

Jim-Dumont1_June2015DSC_05358_120p“We will explore how the Water Balance Methodology provides an effective way to assess potential impacts resulting from urban development, by allowing a modeller to accurately mimic streamflow and duration in urban infrastructure design.

“We will then jump into how optimizing the size and operation of mitigation facilities in the model can be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the mitigation plan in protecting the receiving stream.

“Finally, we will analyze how this approach provides a cost-effective methodology for creating watershed plans with optimized and effective mitigation facilities for a minimum total cost,” concludes Jim Dumont.

Pathway to a Water-Resilient Future

“Collaboration with Forester University means the Partnership will have created an online teaching resource that will keep on giving,” states Richard Boase.richard-boase_march2015_trimmed2_120p

“Over the next 3 years, the May 2nd webinar will be readily accessible as a webcast. The net effect will be to expand the reach of the Partnership, and hence our ability to heighten awareness among land and water practitioners about the benefits of a whole-system, water balance approach.

“As a teaching tool, the webcast is intended to help these professionals ask the right questions. We would like them to focus on how they and others can apply science-based understanding, properly and effectively, to implement land use and infrastructure practices that incrementally turn the clock back. Slow, spread, sink rainwater runoff. Success would result from restoration of the pathways by which rainfall reaches streams, naturally. We define this outcome as hydrologic integrity.

“Once they are tuned in to the engineering and scientific principles guiding the Water Balance Methodology, our hope is that land and water professionals will be inspired to make a difference in applying this knowledge. Restoring hydrologic integrity, and thus the water balance, is key to achieving a water-resilient future in urban areas,” concludes Richard Boase.

Benefits of Whole-System, Water Balance Approach Less flooding, less stream erosion, more streamflow when needed most. And the results will be: Avoid an unfunded liability. Adapt to a changing climate.

Benefits of Whole-System, Water Balance Approach
Less flooding, less stream erosion, more streamflow when needed most. And the results will be: Avoid an unfunded liability. Adapt to a changing climate.