“The drought that extended this past winter, spring and summer from Vancouver Island to Manitoba and from Mexico to the Yukon suggests that Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime,” stated Kim Stephens. “Lessons learned will inform how local governments move forward with a ‘water balance’ approach.”
2015: a year of extremes – Vancouver Sun newspaper editorial summarizes the year’s turbulent weather in a single paragraph
“For British Columbia, this was the year of the great drought, dwindling snow packs, melting glaciers, beleaguered salmon runs and a costly forest fire season, followed by windstorms and heavy rains. Launched from a powerful El Nino, storms caused the single largest electrical outage in the province’s history,” wrote the Vancouver Sun editorial board (chaired by Harold Munro) in a year-ending editorial.
“There have been many changes in our approach to urban water management in Australia since the establishment of the centralised and separate water supply, stormwater and wastewater paradigm in the 1800s,” stated Peter Coombes. “Urban water cycle management starts with the integration of land and water planning across time horizons and spatial scales. It must be cognisant of likely advances in science and professional practice over the next 30 years.”
“Within municipalities, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater are often treated as if they were completely different things. If we want to find the solution, we have to start understanding them as part of the same cycle,” says John Jackson. “We need to be planning all components of the cycle at once.Are we conveying stormwater into a pipe that is going off to a river or a lake, when it could be going back to recharge the groundwater aquifer from which we source our drinking water?”
MAGAZINE ARTICLE (October 2015): “Sustainable Watershed Systems” connects dots between municipal infrastructure, water balance services, and health of watersheds
Released in December 2014, ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’ is a game-changer. “Sustainable Service Delivery is the New Paradigm. It is the singular aim. Sound Asset Management practices prevent in-service failure of assets which consequently cause service delivery interruptions. Therefore, Asset Management is the means to achieve the aim,” states David Allen.
Mayors and policymakers have the power to significantly reduce the threat of climate change through the infrastructure decisions they make in the next five years. A new report by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Stockholm Environment Institute points to a hopeful path for cities and their leaders. “Our leaders are capable of acting, have acted, want to act. We might be able to buy ourselves a little time here,” says Seth Schultz.
The newly formed Saw Mill Run Watershed Association is coordinating the efforts of communities in the Pittsburgh region to reduce stormwater and pollution along the 22 mile length of Saw Mill Run, with a long-term plan to open up public access to the stream. “We’re looking at greening the area, making the stream more natural and restored to reduce runoff,” states Lisa Brown.
Drought and Flood….Feast AND Famine! – BC is Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”
“The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and we can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in our watersheds. Annual volumes of water entering and exiting our regions are not necessarily changing; instead, what is changing is how and when water arrives – it is feast AND famine!,” says Kate Miller.
Our Climate is Changing: Moving Towards a Water Balance Culture in the Cowichan Region on the east coast of Vancouver Island
“Recurring region-wide consequences of water-related challenges have also prompted regional action to develop governance structures and processes to make the connections between high-level decision making and actions on the ground. The Regional Surface and Ground Water Management and Governance Study identified co-governance with First Nations as a primary condition for success in managing regional water resources,” stated Keith Lawrence.
Our Climate is Changing: “The drought of 2015 suggests we may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime in Western North America,” observes Bob Sandford
The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is floods and droughts. What is changing is how and when water arrives. “After a period of relative hydro-climatic stability, changes in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere have resulted in the acceleration of the global hydrologic cycle with huge implications for every region of the world and every sector of the global economy,” states Bob Sandford.