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Look At Rainfall Differently

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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FLASHBACK TO 2011: From Stormwater to Rainwater – POLIS Project and University of Victoria Environmental Law Clinic released "Peeling Back the Pavement"


The inspiration for “Peeling Back the Pavement” was a report titled Re-Inventing Rainwater Management: A Strategy to Protect Health and Restore Resources in the Capital Region. “Environmental and stream health problems in the Capital Region are the legacy of an obsolete 19th century stormwater management system—a system that fails to respect natural systems and water cycles,” states Calvin Sandborn.

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LEADING CHANGE: British Columbia's Water Balance Methodology – Coming to Terms with "Voodoo Hydrology"! (Forester University Webinar on May 2, 2017)


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. In the 1960s, Linsley championed the paradigm-shift from empirical relationships to computer simulation of hydrologic processes.

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: "Summary Report for ISMP Course Correction Series" released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia to focus local governments on watershed health outcomes


“Local governments bear the entire financial burden to stabilize watercourses impacted by increased runoff volume after land is developed. The challenge is to think about what infrastructure asset management entails BEFORE an asset is proposed and incorporated in a municipality’s capital plan,” states Ray Fung.

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United States EPA funds creation of Center for Infrastructure Modeling & Management: “British Columbia experience in whole-system, water balance based approaches in the Pacific Northwest adds a critical combination of tools and understanding to the water resources toolbox,” states Dr. Charles Rowney, Director of Operations


“It is the combination of diverse needs, ideas and solutions that will make the vision for the Center work,” stated Dr. Rowney. “That is one of the reasons we’re so pleased with the agreement just reached with the British Columbia Partnership for Water Sustainability. We have many needs in common, and many ideas to share. The leadership shown by the Partnership has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn.”

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SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS, THROUGH ASSET MANAGEMENT: “We have a drainage standard-of-practice that is generally accepted as not achieving what is best for the environment,” stated Jim Dumont at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium (March 2017)


“So what is the nub of the issue? In standard practice, only surface runoff is considered, and this has led to degraded streams. If communities are to truly benefit from use of nature’s assets to provide vital community infrastructure services, then two issues must first be recognized as being impediment to changes in practice,” stated Jim Dumont. “Issue #1 is widespread lack of understanding of the relationship between flow-duration and stream (watershed) health. Issue #2 is widespread application of a standard of practice that has little connection to real-world hydrology.”

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LOOK AT DRAINAGE DIFFERENTLY: "We have a standard-of-practice that is generally accepted as not achieving what is best for the environment," stated Jim Dumont at the 2017 Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium


“So what is the nub of the issue? In standard practice, only surface runoff is considered, and this has led to degraded streams. The other pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are ignored,” explained Jim Dumont. “If communities are to truly benefit from use of nature’s assets to provide vital community infrastructure services, then we must change the engineering standard-of practice to one that is state-of-the-art and reflects real-world hydrology.”

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