Rainwater Management

Download British Columbia guidance documents. Learn about the guiding philosophy and tools for implementing ‘sustainable watershed systems, through asset management’. Be inspired by success stories. Understand why it is necessary to manage the complete spectrum of ‘rainfall days’ in a year, preserve or replicate the pathways by which water reaches streams, and so mimic flow-duration distribution. The emphasis herein is on the drainage runoff side of the Water Balance distribution.

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DOWNLOAD: Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia

“Released in 2002, the Guidebook provides a framework for effective rainwater management throughout the province. This tool for local governments presents a methodology for moving from planning to action that focuses on implementing early action where it is most needed,” states Laura Maclean. “The Guidebook approach is designed to eliminate the root cause of negative ecological and property impacts of rainwater runoff by addressing the complete spectrum of rainfall events. The Guidebook approach contrasts with conventional ‘flows-and-pipes’ stormwater management.”

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Water Balance Model – On Tour!

“Have a look at some of the Water Balance Model slideshow presentations that have been made to industry and government groups starting in 2001. This includes some of the early presentations on the Water Balance Methodology that helped pave the way for the paradigm-shift from 'peak flow thinking' to 'volume-based thinking'. The many presentations created awareness and influenced expectations,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS TO SHELLY CREEK ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “As a result of alterations to the hydrology of the creekshed, the Shelly Creek ‘riparian ecosystem’ has been reduced to a number of ‘riparian zones’ as defined in regulations. We view this finding as one of the key takeaways from the financial valuation of the Shelly Creek natural commons and the package of ecological services that it provides,” stated Tim Chair, EAP Chair

“The Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) considers use and conservation of land to be equally important values. Historically, land use and property development in our communities have been given priority over ecological systems such as streams. Too often the result has been remnant ecological services that fall far short of the benefits that these natural commons can provide. The research findings suggest that the diminution of stream functions gradually will draw the attention of property owners and the community to the ‘no harm’ rule in land appraisal.,” stated Tim Pringle.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2015: “Moving Towards Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (released November 2015)

“Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is a milestone accomplishment, and was made possible with provincial funding assistance. The Ministry of Environment acknowledges that the Partnership for Water Sustainability is also adding depth to the Guidebook through the Beyond the Guidebook Report Series and the Beyond the Guidebook Primer Series. The work of the Partnership is supporting the Province’s Living Water Smart vision and Green Communities initiative,” stated Wes Shoemaker, Deputy Minister.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2010: “Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia” (released June 2010)

“There are a lot of times when we in local government like to blame or put on senior governments the responsibility to provide the framework for doing something, but there are things that we in local government can do. We need to choose to be enabled. So, what we mean by shared responsibility is that everyone has a role, and everyone can act – all levels of government, developers, regulators, bureaucrats, consultants, planners, engineers – we all have a role,” stated Ray Fung.

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DOWNLOAD BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2007: “Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia” (released June 2007)

“British Columbia’s Stormwater Planning Guidebook, released in 2002, recognized that water volume is something over which local government has control through its infrastructure servicing policies, practices and standards. Through implementation of ‘green infrastructure’ practices, the desired outcome in going Beyond the Guidebook is to apply what we have learned at the site scale over the past five years – so that we can truly protect and/or restore stream health in urban watersheds,” stated Paul Ham.

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THE SECOND DECADE OF DELTA’S RAIN GARDEN PROGRAM: “The close collaboration between the City of Delta, the Streamkeepers, other volunteers and the Delta School District is what has allowed the rain garden program to persist for 15 years. I look forward to encouraging these types of projects in the years to come,” stated Mayor George Harvie (June 2020)

The City of Delta’s rain garden program evolved gradually, in the manner of any good garden — from early conversations in 1999, through the first rain garden in 2006, to the 29 school and community rain gardens in 2019. “The City has a long history of working closely with the Cougar Creek Streamkeepers on projects that improve watershed conditions. One example of this is the highly successful rain garden program, which has not only increased stormwater infiltration in our urban areas but has also created beautiful amenities in the community,” stated Mayor George Harvie.

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THE FIRST DECADE OF PHILADELPHIA’S GREEN CITY, CLEAN WATERS PROGRAM: “We had sold people on the concept, but we did not expect the level of complexity that was required, the level of partnership. We had no idea,” said Paula Conolly, director of the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange

Since entering into an innovative partnership with the United States EPA almost a decade ago, Philadelphia has become a testing ground for green technologies. Philadelphia’s program involves creating ‘greened acres’ — expanses of impervious land that are transformed either to absorb the first 1½ inches of rainfall or send it into rain gardens or other local green infrastructure systems. The City has created more than 1,500 of a projected 10,000 greened acres.

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FLASHBACK TO 2007: “The purpose of the ‘Beyond the Guidebook’ initiative is to help local governments and the development community establish what level of rainwater runoff volume reduction makes sense at the site, catchment and watershed scales,” stated Corino Salomi, Area Manager, Department of Fisheries & Oceans

“It helps to look back to understand how we got to here. In 2000, DFO released Urban Stormwater Guidelines and Best Management Practices for Protection of Fish and Fish Habitat. That document set a direction. It got practitioners thinking about how to capture rainfall in order to reduce runoff volume and protect water quality. By 2007, however, we had concerns about how the document was being interpreted and applied. ‘Beyond the Guidebook 2007’ represented the initial course correction,” stated Corinio Salomi.

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GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE & A TALE OF TWO CITIES: “Philadelphia has set an example in storm water management the Chicago area should follow to reduce flooding, make waterways cleaner and give a welcome economic boost to struggling communities,” stated an editorial in the Chicago Sun Times (March 2018)

“Instead of expanding our infrastructure, we put together a plan to price, value, reuse, recycle, infiltrate, transpire or otherwise manage, every drop of rainwater we could. We started to invent the millions of ways to reduce the amount of rainwater that arrived at our sewer inlets. The goal was to consider rainwater as a commodity and a resource—if it enters a sewer drain it becomes a costly waste product,” explained Howard Neukrug, former Philadelphia Water Commissioner. “There is no single formula for success—and we still don’t know whether ultimately we will succeed.”

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WATER, PLACE & RECONCILIATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Our vision is to transform an eco-liability into an eco-asset in the heart of the K’ómoks Estuary,” states Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed’s Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping

“Pre-1950 aerial photographs confirm that Kus-kus-sum was indeed a forested streamside area in the K’ómoks Estuary with side-channels connecting it to the adjacent Hollyhock Marsh,” stated Caila Holbrook. ”The restoration process will include removing built infrastructure from the site, removing fill, re-grading the topography of the area, planting native species and removing the steel wall. Nature will come back; it is already trying to – as trees and salt marsh plants are poking through the 1 foot deep rebar-reinforced concrete.”

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URBAN DESIGN, NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING & PACKAGE OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES: Town of Comox precedents are working examples of what “reconnecting hydrology and ecology” looks like in practice

Town of Comox experience demonstrates that ‘Ecological Services are Core Municipal Services, not an Add-On’. Mayor Russ Arnott elaborates: “The ecological services within Brooklyn Creek are integral components of the Town’s core services of rainwater management, parks and fish habitat protection. Once the Town switched to viewing ecological services as core municipal services, we then asked ourselves: how can we do things better? The Draft Anderton Corridor Neighbourhood Concept Plan is the result.”

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