Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities: A Hydrological Assessment of Using Green Infrastructure Practices in British Columbia to Mitigate Future Flooding



Bowker Creek Blueprint 

At a recent meeting of the Bowker Creek Initiative, Chris Jensen reported out on his post-graduate research findings at the University of Victoria. Bowker Creek served as the case study for his applied research. Bowker Creek has developed a high profile in British Columbia because of the precedent-setting nature of the Bowker Creek Blueprint: A 100-year action plan to restore the Bowker Creek Watershed.

Chris Jensen is an Infrastructure Resource Officer with BC’s Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development where he is responsible for the development of tools, programs and policies that aim to improve water sustainability and community infrastructure. He is a founding member of the Bowker Creek Initiative. 

“My Master’s program is the interface between what I do at the Ministry and my involvement in the community,” explains Chris Jensen. “My applied research has direct community application because I have used Bowker Creek as a case study.  My focus is on how we can reduce our hydrologic footprint as the watershed redevelops. The results could have provincial significance.” 


An Introduction to Climate Change Adaptation

“The International Panel for Climate Change predicts that the intensity of extreme rainfall events will very likely increase over most areas during the 21st century. For Victoria BC, changes in global climate patterns are expected to increase winter precipitation by an average of 10% by 2050.  To protect public safety and prevent property damage, communities may need to modify and upgrade drainage systems to accommodate the projected increases in precipitation.”

“Green infrastructure practices offers a potential strategy for reducing the flood impacts of climate change. Green infrastructure relies on runoff management measures that seek to control rainwater volume at the source by reducing imperviousness and retaining, infiltrating and reusing rainwater.”

The presentation by Chris Jensen discussed the methods and results of a hydrological assessment that was performed to determine if green infrastructure can effectively mitigate the increase in flooding that is predicted to occur in the Bowker Creek Watershed. The session showed how watershed hydrology is expected to be affected by changes in climate, increases in impervious areas and by the introduction of green roofs, rain gardens and top soil amendments. The research by Chris Jensen indicates that in smaller urban watersheds, green infrastructure may play an important role in climate change adaptation.



To Learn More:

To download a copy of the presentation slides, click on Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities. To read a story posted previously on the Waterbucket website about the research by Chris Jensen, click on Bigger Pipes or Greener Communities: A Hydrological Assessment of using Low Impact Development to Mitigate Future Flooding.

In February 2010, the Bowker Creek Forum attracted provincial attention to the precedent-setting nature of the Bowker Creek Blueprint. To access the “homepage” established on the Waterbucket website for this transformational event, click here



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