Sustainable Rainwater Management in the District of Sooke: What Does It Look Like?




2012 Building SustainAble Communities Conference showcases innovation  

The Fresh Outlook Foundation is hosting its 5th Building SustainAble Communities conference February 27th to March 1st, 2012 in Kelowna, BC, Canada. The program–inspired by 75 industry experts on 11 planning committees–features a variety of plenaries, breakouts, panels, workshops, debates, and interactive sessions to provide opportunities for enhanced communication and collaboration.

“There is a special day-long session devoted to sustainable water management issues. Six panel sessions will address different aspects of water and provide a broad-brush picture of the innovation that is emerging in British Columbia.The Sustainable Rainwater Management session will set the stage for a Water Balance Model companion event organized by the Okanagan Basin Water Board,reports Joanne deVries, Fresh Outlook Founder and CEO.


Rainwater Panel

The Rainwater Panel will present a series of ‘vignettes’ to showcase the experience of local governments that are BC leaders in innovation. These vignettes will be cascading in providing the audience with a picture of what ‘Sustainable Rainwater Management” looks like at three scales: watershed basin, watershed catchment and project site. 

The vignettes will illustrate desired outcomes for the current “ISMP Course Correction” initiative in BC, where ISMP is the acronym for Integrated Stormwater Management Plan. The unifying theme for the session is: Integrate the site with the watershed and stream to protect watershed and stream health. 

The Rainwater Panel comprises Kim Stephens (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC), Laura Byrne (District of Sooke), Richard Boase (District of North Vancouver) and Carrie Baron (City of Surrey). To learn more about the Rainwater Panel session, click on SustainableRainwater Management: What Does It Look Like?


District of Sooke’s Rainwater Management Plan

The District of Sooke on Vancouver Island has taken a proactive approach to wastewater and rainwater management and is recognizing the significance of environmental protection of the region. Sooke is the first community in British Columbia to integrate both Sanitary and Rainwater LWMPs (Liquid Waste Management Plans).

“The District of Sooke has exceeded provincial requirements for liquid waste management and  created a rainwater management plan that makes protecting water quality a guiding principle in land use decisions,” states Laura Byrne, the District’s project manager for plan development. “Because our rainwater management plan is outcome-oriented, it has stayed true to Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. The plan works on three principles: protect existing water quality, prevent future damage, and remediate areas that may already be damaged. The District aims to improve water quality in Sooke Harbour and the Sooke Basin to the point where a longstanding ban on shellfish harvesting can be lifted.”

“To achieve the community vision for healthy streams and harbour, the District encourages green infrastructure for rainwater capture and also encourages use of the Water Balance Model. In fact, the draft Subdivision and Development Standard Bylaw includes a requirement for developers to employ the Water Balance Model for all developments, regardless of the number of lots. Sooke recognizes that the water balance methodology links rainfall to streams, and this is how we will protect our streams,” concludes Laura Byrne. 



Enhanced rainwater management will have direct effects on the environment (watercourses and watersheds), public health and well-being and the ways in which municipal infrastructure and private land is developed. For more information and to download the Sooke plan, click here.


E-Blast #2012-06

February 14, 2012


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