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Water-Centric Planning

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RESTORATION OF WATERSHED FUNCTION: “Draw a distinction between maintenance and management. Understand that maintenance means preventing degradation, whereas management is about enhancement,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) Initiative (April 2018)


“Looking through the ‘worth lens’ has been transformational. We concluded that less emphasis should be placed on monetization of ecological services. It is more realistic to focus on investment of resources – that is, time and money – as well as aspirations of motivated stakeholders,” stated Tim Pringle. “For this reason, the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) examines the investment of resources already made by stakeholders, as well as their aspirations concerning the maintenance and management of ecological services.”

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“Communities can advance mitigation and adaptation agendas simultaneously through ‘Green Resilience’ strategies,” stated Deborah Harford, Executive Director, the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) at Simon Fraser University


“Climate change impacts such as flooding, drought, and other forms of extreme weather are projected to increase in frequency and severity in the future,” stated Deborah Harford. “Plans are now under consideration to create a cross-country dialogue regarding climate resilience and GHG mitigation and to form working groups to advance recommendations on research, capacity-building, and policies to support implementation of green resilience solutions.”

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KANAKA CREEK WATERSHED STEWARDSHIP CENTRE: Conserving nature is key to managing rainwater runoff and protecting Kanaka Creek watershed – an outdoor classroom, including ‘Roof to Creek’ water features and interpretive signage, is a powerful teaching environment


In the works for years, the Centre is intended as an immersive and highly engaging place for visitors with a strong connection to the natural environment. “As we celebrate 50 years of Metro Vancouver Regional Parks this year, we continue to enhance our expansive portfolio of parks, park reserves, greenways and ecological conservancy areas,” said Metro Vancouver Chair Greg Moore. “This addition will be a valuable hub for future generations to enjoy, connect with, and learn about nature.”

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THE SYSTEMS FRAMEWORK: “Revolutionary new bottom-up approach would transform the way we assess and manage our water resources,” stated Dr. Michael Barry


“One operational decision may create such substantial far-reaching benefits that it simply cannot be weighed against financial value alone, while another may produce unexpected costs across other sectors of society,” stated Dr. Michael Barry. “It is vital that regulators, governments, and business know about these trade-offs, which traditional analysis has limited ability to uncover, but which the Systems Framework exposes clearly.”

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Are cities ecosystems—analogous to natural ones—of nature, infrastructure and people?


“Cities are in fact ecosystems. But one key element—the dominance of humans—makes cities different from many other ecosystems. And that changes everything: composition, processes, dynamics, functions,” wrote Marina Alberti. “By building structure and infrastructure in cities to support their needs, humans redistribute organisms and the fluxes of energy and materials leading to a distinct biogeochemistry, biotic diversity, and energy and material cycles.”

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Los Angeles County’s Bold Plan for Safe, Clean Water: Collaborate at regional level and plan at watershed level to bring multi-benefit rainwater capture projects to communities


The county is currently developing a plan which would fund construction of cisterns, rain gardens, and other infrastructure to collect and store as much as 100 billion additional gallons of rainwater per year. That’s enough water to meet 20 percent of L.A.’s current demand. “When you look at what we are importing into L.A. County, it’s about 60 percent of our local supply,” Mark Pestrella said. “That’s a problem from an economic standpoint, and from a pollution standpoint.”

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Water Sustainability Action Plans in British Columbia: “The scale and scope of each plan – and the process used to develop it – would be unique, and would reflect the needs and interests of the watersheds affected,” stated Jennifer Vigano, Ministry of Environment, in Beyond the Guidebook 2015


“Planning will be an effective tool where the need is great, and where other area-based management tools are not able to address the links between land use and watershed impacts,” stated Jennifer Vigano. The Water Sustainability Act allows for the development of Water Sustainability Plans. These collaboratively developed plans can integrate water and land use planning and can be combined with other local, regional or provincial planning processes to address water-related issues.

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THEME FOR WORLD WATER DAY 2018: World looks to nature-based solutions for urgent water challenges


“We need to deal with the water paradox,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, calling attention to the need to work together towards a solution for our water challenge. “Water is the essence of life, but we don’t save it enough. It’s time to change mindsets, it’s not about development versus the environment.” Nature-based solutions for water, demonstrates how nature-based solutions (NBS) offer a vital means of moving beyond business-as-usual to address many of the world’s water challenges.

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World Water Day 2018: “Streamkeepers is advocating for the introduction of municipal incentives for permeable – or ‘green’ – surfaces,” wrote Glen Parker, North Shore Streamkeepers, in an opinion piece about rainwater management and “changing the way we do business” in Metro Vancouver’s North Shore region


“While it’s customary here to lament the sheer amount of precipitation our city gets, the fact is that rain, and the waterways through which it flows, play an incredibly important role in our region’s beautiful and diverse ecosystem – an ecosystem that requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure the sustainability of the surrounding environment and wildlife,” wrote Glen Parker. “Perhaps because rain is thought of as a force of rejuvenation and renewal, we often neglect to think about how stormwater can actually endanger our ecosystems and fish populations.”

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The Answer is in Nature: “Water management in the Anthropocene will require smart combinations of green and grey infrastructure,” stated Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute


“Once on the ground, the fate of rainwater is largely determined by human activities, culture and infrastructure. Who gets how much water, and of what quality, often depends as much on human laws as it depends on the laws of nature,” stated Torgny Holgren. “There are two things to keep in mind. The first is that, in this era of ‘alternative truths’, nature is a fact. It doesn’t budge, scare or care. The second thing to remember is that nature’s solutions are tried and tested over thousands of years.”

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