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Water Balance Model for BC

FLASHBACK TO 2010: “Erosion is a key factor in water resources management. Managing this effect has become a clear requirement," stated Jim Dumont when Environment Canada and CMHC co-funded addition of the Stream Erosion Module to the Water Balance Model


“A principal result of increased volumes and rates of flow associated with urbanization is the consequent increase in stream erosion,” stated Jim Dumont. “This can be an economically important factor as maintenance and hydraulic capacity is affected, and it can also be an ecologically important factor as habitat is impaired through degradation, aggregation and increased suspended solids transport.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2005: "The Watershed and Stormwater Management Webconference was precedent-setting in laying the groundwork for future inter-provincial collaboration for a water balance approach," observed Cate Soroczan, CMHC Senior Researcher, and driving force behind the forum


“The event was an information exchange amongst agencies from across the country,” stated Cate Soroczan. “I would like to see this as the first step toward national and international collaboration on watershed and stormwater management issues. Clearly there are opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences in source protection, BMPs, land use planning approaches, etc.”

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Water Balance Model – On Tour!


“Have a look at some of the Water Balance Model slideshow presentations that have been made to industry and government groups starting in 2001. This includes some of the early presentations on the Water Balance Methodology that helped pave the way for the paradigm-shift from 'peak flow thinking' to 'volume-based thinking'. The many presentations created awareness and influenced expectations,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

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


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 2003: “Water Balance Model for British Columbia” introduced to local government elected representatives as part of formal launch at UBCM Urban Forum (Sept 2003)


“The Stormwater Guidebook and Water Balance Model initiatives link directly to land use planning, policy, and regulation,” stated Mayor Barry Janyk. “Use of the Water Balance Model promotes a watershed-based approach that recognizes the relationships between the natural environment and the built environment, and manages them as integrated components of the same watershed.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2003: BC Inter-Governmental Partnership previewed look-and-feel of "Water Balance Model for British Columbia" at Partners Forum hosted by Greater Vancouver Regional District in Burnaby (June 2003)


The goal is to change land development practices so that sites and subdivisions function hydrologically like a natural forest. “By developing the Water Balance Model, the IGP is meeting its mission of providing local governments and landowners with a ‘decision support and scenario modeling tool’ that is interactive and scientifically defensible,” stated Laura Maclean. “This will help them meet performance targets for runoff volume reduction.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2002: Metro Vancouver hosted inaugural Partners Forum that initiated development of the web-based "Water Balance Model for British Columbia" (July 2002)


The ‘date of record’ for formal launch of the Inter-Governmental Partnership (IGP) to ‘make real’ the vision for the WBM initiative is July 17, 2002. On that date the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now known as Metro Vancouver) convened a meeting of representatives from three levels of government. “The defining outcome of that inaugural Water Balance Partners Forum was the decision to fund and proceed with WBM development,” stated Kim Stephens.

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FLASHBACK TO 2002: Early decision-making by the Inter-Governmental Partnership was guided by a Backgrounder titled "The Water Balance Model: A Tool for Stormwater Source Control Modeling in a Watershed Context" (July 2002)


“The WBM can be applied to evaluate the hydrologic performance of stormwater source
controls (e.g. bioretention, infiltration facilities, rainwater capture and re-use, green roofs)
and stormwater detention,” stated Dr. Dan Medina. “The output hydrograph generated by the WBM can become an input to a wide range of hydraulic routing models. WBM hydrographs represent a major improvement over conventional hydrologic simulation of urban runoff.”

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: Flashback to a Watershed Moment at the Gaining Ground Summit – “The ‘new Water Balance Model’ underpins Beyond the Guidebook initiative," stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister (May 2008)

“We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward. We have to build regulatory models and develop models of practice and expertise,” stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister.

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “The methodology embedded in the Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO enables a watershed target to be established," stated Kim Stephens at the concluding seminar in the Cowichan Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series (July 2008)


“In 2002, ‘Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia’ articulated a principle that performance targets at the watershed scale provide a starting point to guide the actions of local government in the right direction,” stated Kim Stephens. “The objective is to translate those targets into appropriate site design criteria that then provide local government staff and developers with practical guidance for achieving the goal of stream protection.”

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