Leadership in Watershed Management: Cowichan Valley Regional District proceeding with implementation of Water Balance Model Express to inform land development decisions


Water-Balance-Model_Feb2014_what it is

Demonstrating Leadership in Watershed Management

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is a charter member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, and a demonstration region for development of the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners (“WBM Express). This web-based tool is an initiative of the Partnership.

In April 2014, Kate Miller (Manager of Environmental Initiatives Division) presented a status report to the CVRD Regional Services Committee. This provided a public platform to announce the launch of the WBM Express for the Cowichan Region. Her presentation included a live demonstration of this decision support tool.

WBM Express for Cowichan Region

Kate Miller_June-2013_v2_120p“The CVRD has been a regional case study for the development of the Water Balance Model Express tool for property owners,” wrote Kate Miller in her report to the Regional Services Committee. “This tool has resulted in an enhanced capability of the CVRD to maintain its leadership in the areas of watershed management and the development of technical and community based responses to emerging issues which are appropriate for our regional context.

In May, the CVRD Regional Board approved the following recommendation by the Regional Services Committee:

That the Water Balance Web Tool and supporting documents be shared with the CVRD and partner municipal planning staff; and further, that planning staff consider integrating the tool into the planning framework to support watershed management objectives at the Official Community Plan level and Development Permit level.

Ladysmith-Mayor_Rob-Hutchins_120pAt the April 2014 meeting of the Regional Services Committee, and following the presentation and discussion period, Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins (the Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional Board) asked: “Why does the Resolution limit the recommendation to Official Community Plan and Development Permit level rather than to Zoning or Building Permit level as well? Is that an appropriate amendment to make? My question is directed through the Chair to Staff.”

“To be frank,” answered Kate Miller, “my recommendation was framed in such a way so as to not step on toes on the part of either our CVRD planning staff or municipal planning staff. But it certainly could be a recommendation that it would be appropriate to utilize at a variety of scales, most notably at the building scale development scale.”

“So, the way this is phrased, this is a door opener,” observed Mayor Rob Hutchins. “Yes,” replied Kate Miller. Hutchins then moved the motion.

To Learn More:

To download a copy of the report to the Regional Services Committee by Kate Miller, Manager of Environmental Initiatives Division, click on Staff Report on WBM Express.

To read the complete story of what Kate Miller said during her presentation, click on WBM Express for Landowners: Implementation Recommendation Approved by Cowichan Valley Regional Board in May 2014.

To download a copy of her supporting PowerPoint slides, click on Linking rainfall stream flow and groundwater as building blocks to healthy watersheds.

To Watch the Video:

Click on http://cvrdmeetings.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=367&doctype=AGENDA (note: the presentation by Kate Miller starts at 51:35 elapsed time).

CVRD-Kate Miller presentation April 2014_title slide