A Decade Ago, BC Politicians Embraced Water Balance Thinking and “Design with Nature”



Note to Reader:

In 2002, looking at rainfall differently led the Province of British Columbia to adopt the Water Balance Methodology, initiate a performance target approach to capturing rain where it falls, and initiate changes in the ways rainwater runoff is returned to streams. In 2003, an inter-governmental partnership co-chaired by the Province and Environment Canada developed the Water Balance Model, a scenario comparison and decision support tool.



Partnership Celebrates Milestone: “Water Balance Model for British Columbia” launched 10 years ago at UBCM Urban Forum

“With release of Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia in 2002, the Partnership set out to change the way land is developed in BC. To create change, our initial focus was on the ability of the landscape to absorb rainfall. Now, our emphasis is on the movement of water through the ground, and the resulting baseflow to streams,” states Ted van der Gulik, Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership.

“Our mission is to influence the culture in the local government setting. This takes patience and time. From the start, we have had high-level political endorsement and support. Notably, in September 2003, the Union of BC Municipalities provided us with a platform to tell our story.”

“At the 2003 UBCM Urban Forum, we challenged BC’s politicians to walk the sustainability talk and apply a ‘design with nature’ approach to the design of their communities. And, we formally launched the Water Balance Model for British Columbia as an extension of the Guidebook.”

“Provincial direction is ‘mimic the natural Water Balance’ to protect stream and watershed health. The Water Balance Model promotes awareness and action. The tool is a means to an end: ‘think like a watershed’. Our efforts are now bearing fruit. A ‘design with nature’ land ethic is taking hold in many communities,” concludes Ted van der Gulik.


To Learn More:

To read the complete story posted on the Rainwater Management community-of-interest about this transformational event and what it set in motion, click on Partnership Celebrates Milestone: “Water Balance Model for British Columbia” launched 10 years ago at UBCM Urban Forum.



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