BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK PRIMER SERIES: “The Runoff-Based Approach leads to the analysis of runoff and its interaction with the physical aspects considered important to the aquatic environment,” stated Jim Dumont when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released the Primer on Urban Watershed Modelling to Inform Local Government Decision Processes (November 2011)
“It was in addressing the inter-relationship between Runoff Capture and Rate Control that Beyond the Guidebook picked up where the Guidebook left off in 2002. The Guidebook had focused attention upon the site level while assuming there would be benefits to the watershed and streams. By 2007, our knowledge had progressed, and it was clear that the next step was to correlate the rainfall spectrum with all the flows entering tributary streams from the watershed,” stated Jim Dumont.
BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK PRIMER SERIES: “To reach consensus on a shared vision of what is desirable and achievable for watershed protection or restoration, people need a picture of what a stream corridor could and/or should look like,” stated Peter Law when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released the Primer on Rainwater Management in an Urban Watershed Context (November 2011)
The purpose of the Primer on Rainwater Management in an Urban Watershed Context is to provide engineers and non-engineers with a common understanding of how a science-based approach to rainwater management has evolved since the mid-1990s. “Two decades ago, ground-breaking research by Richard Horner and Chris May in Washington State identified limiting factors for stream health, and established an order-of-priority. Their findings provided a road map for integrated rainwater management,” stated Peter Law.
CONTEXT FOR RESTORATIVE DEVELOPMENT: “We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect” – a famous quotable quote written by Aldo Leopold, professor and author of A Sand County Almanac (1949)
In his presentation at the 2018 Engineers & Geoscientists BC Annual Conference, Kim Stephens quoted Aldo Leopold – legendary American professor, author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. “The Land Ethic,” a chapter in his book A Sand County Almanac, popularized the idea of ecological thinking — that animals, plants, soil, geology, water and climate all come together to form a community of life — that they are not separate parts, but integrated pieces of a whole.
SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “The support of the Utilities Committee has been an important ingredient in the success of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative,” stated Kim Stephens when he updated Metro Vancouver’s Utilities Committee (September 2018)
In September 2018, the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee invited the Partnership for Water Sustainability to provide an update on inter-regional collaboration. “The meeting marked the 10th anniversary of my first presentation to the Utilities Committee. It was also an opportunity to recognize and celebrate a decade-long working relationship with Mayor Darrell Mussatto, the Chair. The Partnership honoured him as a Champion Supporter,” stated Kim Stephens. “We depend on the goodwill of community leaders such as Mayor Mussatto to provide political support for the unique bridging role that the Partnership plays in the local government setting.”
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.”
LEADING CHANGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Rainwater design FIRST ….then roads and buildings,” states Professor Daniel Roehr, head of the Greenskins Lab
Founded by Daniel Roehr in 2007, the ‘greenskins lab’ is a research group at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The lab disseminates information on urban design retrofits and new approaches that improve the ecological functions of public open spaces. “Designers need easy tools when they do their first sketches. Our tool helps at the beginning of the design phase at all scales – region to garden,” stated Daniel Roehr.
DODGING DAY ZERO IN CAPETOWN: “The next step comprises the management of all water within the urban water cycle. A key component of this is rain and stormwater harvesting, which offers great growth opportunities,” stated Deputy Mayor Ian Nelson
“The City has already initiated steps towards the goal of becoming a water-sensitive city by 2040. In the City’s draft water strategy, which will be taken through an inclusive public participation process over the coming months, the use of rain and stormwater is included,” stated Ian Neilson. The first step in being able to use stormwater as a water resource was to move stormwater and river management out of the City’s transport department and into the water department. This has already been done, added Nielson.
OPINION PIECE: “Entrenched beliefs and a reluctance to change 20th century engineering practices have consistently resulted in missed opportunities to ‘get it right’,” wrote Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability (Vancouver Sun, September 2018)
“In the absence of a regulatory requirement, the process to adopt, change or evolve accepted practices is painfully slow. Reinvigoration of the provincial oversight function is essential to help local governments be effective in moving B.C. towards restorative land development,” wrote Kim Stephens. “The good news is that – starting with ‘Living Water Smart, B.C.’s Water Plan’ in 2008 – a provincial policy, program and regulatory framework is in place to achieve this desired outcome.”
NEW REPORT FROM INTACT CENTRE ON CLIMATE ADAPTATION: “Too Small to Fail – How Communities Can Prepare for Bigger Storms”
A featured project is the Across Canada Workshop Series, led by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, to showcase the online Water Balance Model Express. “The Partnership has many online tools for assessing site-specific conditions which are available for free or available through a free trial,” stated Dr. Blair Feltmate. “Whether a project team is interested in setting watershed-specific performance targets or a homeowner would like to learn about water flow on their property, there are tools for various types of projects which may be helpful at different stages of a project.”
SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: An understanding of Daniel Pauly’s “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” is a foundation piece for reconnecting hydrology and ecology, and turning the clock back to move towards restorative development
The phrase Shifting Baseline Syndrome describes an incremental eroding of standards that results with each new generation lacking knowledge of the historical, and presumably more natural, condition of the environment. Each generation then defines what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ according to current conditions and personal experiences. “Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss,” stated Daniel Pauly.