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Look At Rainfall Differently

FLASHBACK TO 2005: Handbook for Water-Sensitive Urban Design in Australia, edited by John Argue


WSUD is a term used in Australia to describe sustainable water cycle management in the urban landscape. To assist practitioners in designing rainwater source control measures, A Handbook for Australian Practice was published in 2005. Edited by Professor John Argue, the Handbook is a compilation of proven approaches that are aimed at solving everyday problems of small-scale rainwater management.

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Solution for stream stability and restoration is found in the duration of flow in the stream: “The objectives of the Water Balance Methodology start with the stream and end with the stream, providing a true measure of success in achieving environmental protection,” emphasized Jim Dumont in an interview conducted by James Careless


James Careless had an assignment to look into stormwater modelling tools (for projecting flow and other patterns); both to determine the most common tools used, and some of the most innovative approaches that are coming into use. His research into BC’s water balance approach led him to switch gears from an examination of modelling tools to learning what ‘establishing watershed objectives for stormwater management’ means in practice. What makes BC’s stormwater approach different than other jurisdictions; particularly the U.S., he wondered?

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LEADING CHANGE: Water Balance Pathway to a Water-Resilient Future (Sitelines Magazine, June 2016)


“In this special issue on a Water Balance approach to community development we explain that the natural pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are nature’s ‘infrastructure assets’. They provide Water Balance Services that blend with services provided by engineered assets (infrastructure). We start out at a high level, present tools developed by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, and conclude with a watershed focus,” wrote Kim Stephens.

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Restoring the Water Balance: What happens on the land matters!


“In 2002, the Guidebook transformed conventional wisdom with the premise that land development and watershed protection can be compatible. This breakthrough resulted from application of science-based understanding to mitigate seasonal changes in the Water Balance. A decade and a half later, Beyond the Guidebook 2015 is similarly transformational with its premise that protecting Water Balance Services saves communities money and restores aquatic habitats!”, wrote Peter Law.

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LEADING CHANGE: Tufts University hosted conference on "Restoring Water Cycles to Reverse Global Warming" (Oct 2015, Massachusetts)


Even with elevated greenhouse gases, water can cool the biosphere and address destructive feedback loops in the climate system. “Water and soils are deeply connected, and many water problems are a result of land desiccated and bare due to human mismanagement. The good news is that we can turn droughts and floods around by restoring soils to health and bringing back ecosystem biodiversity. And it can happen remarkably quickly – nature celebrates life!”, states Adam D. Sacks.

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What Happens on the Land Matters: Partnership for Water Sustainability’s “Feast AND Famine Workshop” showcased solutions and tools for building water-resilient communities (Dec 2015)


“We face a number of cumulative and compounding human effects that at present make sustainability a moving target. We need to stabilize these effects if we don’t want adaptation and resilience to constantly be beyond reach,” said Bob Sandford. “The problem is that that we have begun to undermine the planetary conditions upon which we depend for the stability of environment and economy that are the foundation of our prosperity.”

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Think and Act like a Watershed: Harness Nature to Adapt to a Changing Climate


Ecosystem-based Adaptation, EbA, is a combination of two other significant concepts: EBM (ecosystem-based management) and climate change adaptation. “Research demonstrates how changing climate effects such as increases in the frequency and volume of rainfall in the winter or drier hotter, summers are significant influencing factors which should be considered along with land use, engineered drainage systems and the environment when developing Integrated Stormwater Management Plans,” stated Melony Burton.

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Water Balance Methodology: "Watershed objectives start with the stream and end with the stream," says Jim Dumont, the Partnership’s Engineering Applications Authority


“The Water Balance Methodology is based upon watershed and stream function and operation. Understanding how precipitation makes its way to the stream allow us to assess how a watershed and stream operates and to analytically demonstrate impacts of development and the effectiveness of any mitigation works,” states Jim Dumont. “The Methodology provides solutions with verifiable results and where mitigation systems optimized for cost and function.”

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United States EPA: Modelling study demonstrates that "green infrastructure = flood resilience"


“Research has demonstrated the water quality and channel protection benefits of GI; however, the effect of reducing the severity of flood events has not been investigated at a watershed level,” said Dr. Dan Medina. “The EPA posed this question – would the combined effect of thousands of rain gardens designed to capture relatively small volumes of runoff lead to a significant reduction in flood risk? The answer to this question is YES.”

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