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Look At Rainfall Differently

Changing the Way British Columbians Do Business Around Water: What is the Elephant in the Living Room?


The 'elephant in the living room' was created by Banksy, the famed British graffiti artist. The elephant has been made to stand in a makeshift living room, to blend in to its surroundings. In elaborating on the story behind the image, Kate Miller of the Cowichan Valley Regional District told the Learning Lunch Seminar audience that “there is an elephant in our room right now…which is around how do we deal with rainwater management…how do we deal with the larger policy issues…what's the objective.”

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2007 APEGBC Seminar served as provincial launch for ‘Beyond the Guidebook Initiative’: “We are now at a point where we can integrate engineering, planning, biology, geomorphology and recreation to influence the greening of the built environment,” stated Dumont


The seminar was structured in three parts to deal with the Why, What and How in going Beyond the Guidebook. The seminar also enabled the Green Infrastructure Partnership to report out on provincially funded programs and tools. “The response by the engineering community and others was overwhelming, and came as a welcome surprise,” reported Paul Ham,Chair. “Jim Dumont explained why two rainfall-runoff simulation tools have been merged to create a decision support tool that integrates the site with the stream and the watershed.”

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City of Calgary hosted second in series of rainwater/stormwater events organized by the Canadian Water Network


Held at the City of Calgary Water Centre in October 2007, the 2-day workshop event attracted an audience if 155, and included a field trip component. “The magnitude of the response was overwhelming and took us by surprise. Clearly, there is an appetite on the part of drainage practitioners and others to learn more about rainwater management,” stated Lilliana Bozic.

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Stormwater Detention: Ten proven ways to cheat

“Have you ever felt that justifying your detention design to a reviewing agency was a game of numbers? Do you have ways of making that marginal design look like a winner? Most engineers do,” wrote Glenn E. Brooks in the September 2007 issue of Stormwater magazine.

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Canadian Water Network Launched Pan-Canadian Initiative at University of British Columbia Conference & Workshop (June 2007): Jim Dumont explained the innovations underpinning the City of Surrey’s Fergus Creek Watershed Plan, pilot for the ‘Beyond the Guidebook Initiative’


A team led by Dr. Hans Schreier of the University of British Columbia (UBC) kicked off a national ‘knowledge translation strategy’ for rainwater management when it convened a pre-conference workshop, conference and field tour in June 2007 in Vancouver. From a British Columbia perspective, the event design had a distinct Water Balance Model flavour. “Jim Dumont explained why and how the Fergus Creek watershed plan for the City of Surrey is based entirely on implementing ‘green solutions’ as an alternative to conventional engineered ‘blue solutions’,” stated Hans Schreier.

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Overcoming Fear and Doubt to Implement Changes in Infrastructure Standards


“During the period 2000-2001, the mantra in British Columbia was ‘overcoming fear and doubt’ in order to move ahead with projects such as the East Clayton Sustainable Community in the City of Surrey, and UniverCity at Simon Fraser University on Burnaby Mountain in the City of Burnaby. In 2000, translating high expectations into practical design guidelines meant revisiting accepted drainage engineering practice,” stated Kim Stephens.

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Leading Change in Metro Vancouver: New Directions in Urban Watershed Health


The University of British Columbia is leading a national initiative that is intended to create a network of experts that collaborate and share their experiences. Richard Boase of the District of North Vancouver made a defining presentation titled 'New Directions in Urban Watershed Health'. “A key message is that we were doing better 50 years ago when we did not even think about the need for rainwater capture,” he observed.

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Knowledge Transition Strategy: University of British Columbia Hosts National Conference on Rainwater Management


“The vocabulary of the drainage practitioner is changing, and is being simplified so that there will be a clearer public understanding of source control options for capturing rain where it falls. This change has seen the single function view of traditional ‘stormwater management’ give way to the integrated and comprehensive perspective that is captured by the term ‘rainwater management’,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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LOOK AT RAINFALL DIFFERENTLY: British Columbia’s ‘Beyond the Guidebook Initiative’ introduced at 2007 Annual BCWWA Conference – “To accommodate the requirement to maintain stream health, advances in analysis techniques have led to a system that provides a quantitative analysis of both the potential erosion and the availability of aquatic habitat,” stated Jim Dumont


The key message is that Beyond the Guidebook 2007 was the first guidance document to connects the dots between the Water Balance Methodology and stream health protection. This breakthrough was transformational because it allowed drainage practitioners to develop a watershed approach that addresses stream protection and/or restoration. “We have been able to optimize the designs of mitigation works to both reduce the costs and to increase their effectiveness. In this manner we have gone Beyond the Guidebook in a rational and logical manner to reduce the total system requirements and cost,” stated Jim Dumont.

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