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British Columbia Guidance Documents

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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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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Primer on the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) – A Methodology for Valuing the ‘Water Balance Services’ Provided by Nature (released January 2019)


“The concept of natural capital and natural assets can be a challenge to integrate effectively into asset management practices. EAP deals with a basic question: what is a creekshed WORTH, now and in future, to the community and various intervenors? We landed on the notion of the ‘natural commons’ as the starting point for calculating the financial value of a stream bed and riparian corridor. The EAP valuation methodology yields an asset value for the stream corridor that can then be used for budget purposes,” stated Tim Pringle.

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FLASHBACK TO 2002: “The Guidebook premise that land development and watershed protection can be compatible represented a radical shift in thinking in 2002. It opened the door to implementing a regulatory approach to designing with nature,” stated Kim Stephens, Guidebook project manager & principal author


“Published in 2002, ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ was a catalyst for change that resulted in BC achieving international recognition as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management,” stated Kim Stephens. In addition to Adaptive Management, the Guidebook introduced two innovations. The first was the concept of an Integrated Strategy for managing all the ‘rainfall-days’ that occur each year. The second innovation was the concept of performance targets for managing the rainfall spectrum.

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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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FLASHBACK TO 2003: “To provide a feedback loop for the Stormwater Planning Guidebook, the Regional District of Nanaimo developed and applied the At-Risk Methodology through a knowledge-based approach,” stated John Finnie, former General Manager of Environmental Services


“The most effective and affordable way to identify at-risk watersheds for priority action is to tap the knowledge of people within any regional district or municipality who have the necessary planning, ecology and engineering knowledge,” stated John Finnie. “If the right people with the right knowledge are involved at the start, a knowledge-based approach will be both time-efficient and cost-effective. Priority action should be focused in at-risk drainage catchments where there is both high pressure for land use change and a driver for action.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2003: “Chilliwack’s Design Criteria Manual for Surface Water Management was a feedback loop for the province’s Stormwater Guidebook,” said Dipak Basu, Land Development Engineer


The City of Chillwack’s Manual was developed through an inter-departmental and inter-agency process that also included community participation. “Through this process, the group developed a common understanding regarding core concepts. This resulted in consensus on the vision and the direction of the Manual, particularly with respect to the framework that the Manual provides for future rainwater-related action in the City of Chilliwack,” stated Dipak Basu.

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FLASHBACK TO 2003: “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection,” wrote Geoff Gilliard in an article published by Input Magazine


“Many local governments are under pressure to protect streamside property that is threatened by stormwater development,” wrote Geoff Gilliard. “The new Stormwater Planning Guidebook for BC gives municipal land planners and engineers a tool to help make land development compatible with stream protection. The Guidebook offers a new approach to stormwater management that eliminates the root cause of ecological and property impacts by designing for the complete spectrum of rainfall events.”

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