“Act like a watershed and protect stream health,” says Kate Miller, Manager of Environmental Initiatives Division, Cowichan Valley Regional District
Note to Reader:
The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is a charter member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, and a demonstration region for development of the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners (“WBM Express). This web-based tool is an initiative of the Partnership. To support implementation of the Water Balance Model Express, the CVRD has developed a ‘rainwater brochure’. To download a copy of the brochure, click on Act Like a Watershed and Protect Stream Health.
Rainwater brochure encourages “water balance actions” in the Cowichan Valley (Vancouver Island)
In April 2014, Kate Miller (Manager of Environmental Initiatives Division) presented a status report to CVRD elected representatives. This provided a public platform to announce the launch of the WBM Express for the Cowichan Region, and to release Act Like a Watershed and Protect Stream Health.
The Goal – Maintain the Water Balance
“Our community is deeply committed to watershed management and stewardship. However, often they are missing the specific tools and information to transform that commitment to concrete actions they can take in their own lives. This often means simple changes to how they develop or care for their properties,” states Kate Miller.
“We have played with this notion of tools. What we have said to the community is that we want you to develop in compact, complete ways based on environmental and ecological foundations. What this means for us is that – if each of our properties maintains its pre-development characteristics – our watersheds are more resilient to change and ultimately its ability to support our ecosystems and ourselves.”
“The purpose of the rainwater brochure is to inform and educate property owners as to how their properties can act like a watershed – that is, managing rainwater properly by first capturing runoff and then slowly releasing it back into the ground and to streams.”
Manage Rainwater Properly & Protect Stream Health
“Our continued work with the Partnership for Water Sustainability and other local governments has allowed us to develop a suite of tools that help our community do their part in long term water stewardship. The Water Balance Model Express for Landowners is a first step towards a fully enabled GIS platform to play with the effects of small changes to homeowner properties on the watershed stream health.”
“What we have done with the Water Balance Model Express is develop a clear tool that our communities will be able to use as they develop or redevelop over time using a restorative development framework. We want folks to understand that stormwater and stormwater management and infrastructure are just a derivative of rain. Stormwater starts as rain. And if we can deal with it at that level on each site, our infrastructure will last longer and it will cost our communities less in terms of direct infrastructure. Also, there will be potentially less damage.”
“The CVRD has been a regional case study for the development of the Water Balance Model Express. This tool has resulted in an enhanced capability of the CVRD to maintain its leadership in the areas of watershed management and the development of technical and community based responses to emerging issues which are appropriate for our regional context,” concludes Kate Miller.
To Learn More:
To read an article posted on the Rainwater Management community-of-interest, click on WBM Express for Landowners: Implementation Recommendation Approved by Cowichan Valley Regional Board in May 2014