Category:

Rainwater Capture: Planning

OPINION PIECE: “The future of urban ecology is not dark but bright. By embracing urban ecology in the form of green infrastructure and biophilic design, we allow ourselves to work with nature, not against it,” wrote John Lieber (The Relevator, December 2018)


“People often think of urban landscapes as concrete dystopias, but the future may reside in cities that can sustain both people and nature,” wrote John Lieber. “Urban areas have a bad rep when it comes to their relationship the environment. So much so that people generally consider cities to be the opposite of nature. But our perception of urban life is changing. Much has been done to educate and engage the greater public. In turn we’ve been able see cities in a new light.”

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WATER BALANCE PERFORMANCE TARGETS: “The flow-duration relationship is the cornerstone of British Columbia’s Water Balance Methodology. As understanding has grown, the methodology has evolved.” – from Water Balance Approach on Vancouver Island (released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in January 2018)


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. “To be useful…the simulation model must be physically based and deterministic, and it must be designed to simulate the entire hydrological cycle…hence it must be a water balance model,” wrote Linsely in 1976.

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SMART DEVELOPMENT: “The Town of Gibsons is recognized as a leader in sustainable planning and development. In many respects, the genesis can be traced back to the SmartStorm Forum Series which set in motion a chain of events that are still reverberating in British Columbia,” stated Barry Janyk, a former Mayor (1999-2011)


When the SmartStorm Forum Series introduced the term 'smart development' in 1999, the goal was to advance implementation of an integrated and balanced approach to land use. “The response to the SmartStorm Forum Series was simply overwhelming,” recalls Barry Janyk, “For the first event, held in Nanaimo, the doors had to be closed when the surge of last-minute registrations reached the seating capacity of the venue. When we decided to host the second event on the Sunshine Coast, the skeptics asked me who would come to the Sunshine Coast. Well, they did come and they came from far and wide, including Ontario.”

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EDITORIAL: Is Stormwater Management the Key to Greener, More Resilient and Healthier Communities? – “Taxpayers can get far more bang for their public buck by investing in widespread green infrastructure implementation than huge holding tanks to capture stormwater,” says Steven Peck


“When we address stormwater management by investing in green infrastructure solutions, we are also able to address other pressing issues in our communities, such as the urban heat island effect which contributes to air quality pollution, the need for employment, access to food, and the unhealthy lack of green space,” wrote Steven Peck. “In many cases, green infrastructure can also deliver value by offsetting or right sizing the use of grey infrastructure.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2010 FROM RAIN TO RESOURCE WORKSHOP: “The Water Balance Model allows the user to quickly establish the existing base line that will become the standard used to measure the performance of future development scenarios,” stated Jim Dumont


“The WBM embeds land use zoning from municipal member partners, soil calculator and a new calculation engine QUALHYMO utilizing the Environment Canada climate data that includes rainfall, snow, temperature and evaporation. The easy access and calculation speed combined with the embedded data and information allows the user to easily and effectively plan and design green infrastructure techniques which will achieve the vision and objectives established for the Site, the Development, or Watershed,” stated Jim Dumont.

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FLASHBACK TO 2006: UBC-Okanagan hosted one of the early Water Balance Model training workshops in February 2006


“UBC-Okanagan is pleased to have provided the venue for this application of sustainability-on-the-ground. This sponsorship opportunity was an outcome of a meeting with the Chair of the Inter-Governmental Partnership (IGP), at which time we realized that UBC-Okanagan and the IGP shared a common objective in advancing the state-of-the-art for water management in the Okanagan,” stated Bernard Bauer, Dean ot the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences.

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Capturing LA’s ‘Liquid Gold:’ The County’s Bold Plan for Replicating the Water Balance


The expansive undertaking would build on top of an existing network designed to capture and store groundwater. The initiative also seeks to enhance regional cooperation between the over 200 local governments and agencies who oversee water resources throughout the County. “When you look at what we are importing into L.A. County, it’s about 60 percent of our local supply,” said Mark Pestrella.

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FLASHBACK TO 2016: “By contrasting two watersheds, we were aiming to demonstrate that there is still time to get it right on the less developed watershed,” said Nancy Gothard, City of Courtenay Environmental Planner


We all learn from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experiences of those who are leading in their communities. Local government champions on the east coast of Vancouver Island are sharing and learning from each other through inter-regional collaboration. “We wanted to tell a story of the continuum of watershed health, and for people to understand the role that riparian cover plays,” stated Nancy Gothard.

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DESIGN WITH NATURE BECAUSE: "The reality of climate change has exposed the hubris of the pave, pipe and pump mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century," wrote Sophie Knight in an article for the Guardian newspaper's resilient cities page


“As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it’s not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms that can cause disaster: it’s urbanisation,” observed Sophie Knight. “A recent survey of global city authorities carried out by the environmental non-profit CDP found 103 cities were at serious risk of flooding. With climate change both a reality and threat, many architects and urbanists are pushing creative initiatives for cities that treat stormwater as a resource, rather than a hazard.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: "Beyond the Guidebook is a provincial initiative to advance implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices throughout British Columbia," stated Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership


The article provides a concise overview of considerations that have led to integration of two hydrologic models. “The tool underpins ‘Beyond the Guidebook: The New Business As Usual (2007)’, a provincial initiative to advance implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices throughout British Columbia. The mantra for this provincial initiative is: Today’s Expectations are Tomorrow’s Standards,” stated Paul Ham.

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