Mar 2016

“Adapting to climate change means investing in the right infrastructure,” says former British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt

British Columbia’s Living Water Smart vision is to move beyond traditional infrastructure asset management and also account for nature’s services. The asset management requirements for the Province’s capital grants program provide the financial incentive for local governments to integrate ‘watershed systems thinking’ into asset management. “Proactive recognition of the risks we face offers Canadians the opportunity to direct policies and investment in ways that support a more resilient future. In order to do this effectively, we can draw upon a variety of tools located at different levels of government and authority,” states Mike Harcourt.

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“When a ‘design with nature’ ethic guides community development, the drainscape becomes a rainscape,” explains Daniel Roehr, founder of the Greenskins Lab at the University of British Columbia

Framed for a broad audience, “DRainscapes” is a three-minute animation that explains the link between a single yard and the watershed system. The tools for slowing, sinking and spreading rainwater runoff are broken down into five simply illustrated categories. DRainscapes is now coupled with the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners to spark interest and a readiness to implement practices that ensure healthy and resilient watersheds for present and future generations to enjoy. “Finding ways to share the tools of our profession with wide audiences is increasingly necessary. It defines our ability to quickly adapt to our increasingly erratic environment, as citizens and cities implement the tools we have created to mitigate the impacts of development and climate change,” states Daniel Roehr.

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SHIFTING CURRENTS: rethinking our relationships with water

The goal of the 2016 BC Landscape Architects Conference is to examine the influence water has in all aspects of our lives and landscapes and the potential consequences climate change will have in our relationship with, reaction to, and management of water in our landscape. Growing demands for water and the ramifications of climate change are having great influence on our relationships with, access to, and use of water in our lives and landscapes. “Conference attendees practise in both public and private realms. It would be valuable to introduce conference attendees to the findings of Beyond the Guidebook 2015 and what is necessary for us as design professionals to contribute to the restoration of watershed health wherever we are practising,” stated Al Neufeld.

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The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is collaborating with Asset Management BC to integrate “watershed systems thinking” into the Asset Management Continuum. The Partnership is the lead for development of an Ecological Accounting Protocol. Tim Pringle coined the phrase ecological accounting protocol to make clear the distinction vis-à-vis ecological economics. “The purpose of the proposed accounting protocol is to enable comparison of engineered infrastructure to natural systems by means of common units of measurement and value,” states Tim Pringle. “The emphasis is on ‘civil services’ that provide a municipal function.”

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2nd IN A SERIES – BLEND SERVICES FROM NATURE WITH ENGINEERED SOLUTIONS: Introducing the “Asset Management Continuum for Sustainable Service Delivery in British Columbia”

Years in the making, the vision for Sustainable Service Delivery became a reality with rollout of the outcome-oriented “BC Framework” in 2015. Because it is a driver for tackling the “unfunded infrastructure liability”, the BC Framework has garnered both national and international attention.
“The branding logo for the BC Framework also represents a continuum. As local governments mature, both in terms of understanding and applying asset management principles, there is then the ability to appropriately incorporate and integrate natural capital into their asset and watershed plans. By also accounting for and integrating the services that nature provides, over time they can achieve the goal of sustainable service delivery for watershed systems,” states Glen Brown.

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