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Look At Rainfall Differently

LOOK AT RAINFALL DIFFERENTLY: "Best practice falls dramatic short of effective waterway protection," stated Rod Wiese, a champion for 'doing business differently' in Australia, at the 2016 Stormwater Australia National Conference


“This study explores the genuine desire to protect and enhance urban waterways through whole of water cycle measures having wide ranging benefits to community health and climate change resilience,” wrote Rod Wiese in a conference paper titled Why Best Practice is Destroying Our Waterways. “Clearly, we need to manage volume and restore water balance pathways as Kim Stephens explained in his keynote at Stormwater 2016 about the primacy of hydrology.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2006: At the Water in the City Conference, Tom Liptan explained why City of Portland coined the RAIN acronym as an alternative to 'Stormwater' Management'


“It is great to see that the Province of British Columbia is proactively encouraging the drainage community to start using the all-encompassing Rainwater Management as an alternative to single-objective Stormwater Management,” stated Tom Liptan. “The language-shift that you have initiated in British Columbia is what we would like to see happen in Portland.”

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WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND MATTERS: “The benefits of source control cannot be understated,” stated John Argue, pioneer and champion for Water Sensitive Urban Design in Australia


“The genesis of this approach lies at the point where rainfall strikes an urban environment surface, where it can be captured via rooftop gardens and water tanks under a notion of retaining water as opposed to having it wash away,” says John Argue. “Water which is not captured by these practices can potentially be infiltrated into the soil or be channelled through vegetated bio retention systems or rainwater gardens.”

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LOOK AT RAINFALL DIFFERENTLY: What would it take to build 12,000 rain gardens on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore?


Inspired by a ground-breaking campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in the Seattle/Puget Sound region of Washington State, a multi-partner initiative is now underway in British Columbia to build support for a similar rain garden vision in the Metro Vancouver region. “On the North Shore, we can learn from the experience in the Puget Sound region and from the green infrastructure initiatives that are taking place at the municipal level,” states Dr. Joanna Ashworth.

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Forester University Webcast on Protecting Urban Watersheds and Stream Health in British Columbia (May 2017): “The whole-system, water balance approach simplifies things down to an understanding of the consequences of changes in duration of flow. It is very much about the total numbers of hours per year that streams are subjected to particular streamflow rates,” explained Jim Dumont


The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia partnered with Forester University to share, via webcast, the British Columbia innovation and experience that has resulted in the whole-system, water balance approach. “We are delighted to have Kim Stephens and Jim Dumont share British Columbia’s cutting-edge continuous simulation model, known as the Water Balance Methodology,” stated Emily Shine. “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.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2013: Low Impact Development – the United States can learn from British Columbia experience, concluded Paul Crabtree, leader of the US-based Rainwater in Context Initiative


“The Canadians do appear to be ahead of the US in this field because the US EPA took a really bad approach to LID that was based on the premise that enforcing every site to the same standard would somehow fix the problems of water quality in the US,” commented Paul Crabtree. “The USA EPA approach has done some good, but has several crippling drawbacks.”

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“Green City, Clean Waters”: An interview with Philadelphia’s Howard Neukrug about the bold vision for re-imagining the urban landscape


“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.

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British Columbia’s Partnership for Water Sustainability and the United States Urban Watersheds Research Institute have an agreement to collaborate: "The Water Balance Model’s QUALHYMO engine is now linkable with SWMM," stated Jim Dumont, the Partnership’s Engineering Applications Authority


The agreement is to collaborate regarding reciprocal benefits and joint actions related to water resources research and practice in North America. The focal point for cross-border collaboration is the new US-based Center for Infrastructure Modelling & Management, the new home for SWMM. “Tools like SWMM and QUALHYMO can enable the hydrologic computations; it is up to us to recognize the need, and to deliver tools that facilitate the analysis. I expect that discussions about methodology will be as much a part of the Centre as the development of new code,” states Jim Dumont.

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: Value of Water Balance Model / Express recognized by Metro Vancouver Regional Board


At a Special Meeting held in October 2011, the Metro Vancouver Board amended the 2012 Budget to include a grant for the Water Balance Model / Express. “Metro Vancouver has contributed $50,000 to fund further enhancement of the Water Balance Model because widespread use of this decision tool will help Metro Vancouver and members fulfil our regulatory commitments, in particular those related to integrated rainwater management,” stated Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, Board Chair.

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FLASHBACK TO 2009: Rainwater/Stormwater Management in the City of Surrey: An Historical Perspective


At the Surrey Forum, Remi Dubé provided an historical perspective on how drainage planning in Surrey has evolved since the 1970s, and how key neighbourhoods embody the Surrey sustainability vision. “There is a fundamental difference between Surrey and other Metro Vancouver municipalities,” stated Remi Dubé. “Surrey has moved beyond pilot projects; we are moving to a broader watershed objectives approach to capturing rain where it falls to protect our streams.”

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