Friday, September 30, 2011

Nature in BC's Lower Mainland offers $5.4 billion annually in economic benefits, concludes report by Suzuki Foundation


Recognizing the Value of Nature
British Columbia.'s Lower Mainland provides natural benefits in the order of $5.4 billion a year, or close to $2500 per person annually, according to a study released in November 2010 by the David Suzuki Foundation and Pacific Parklands Foundation. The report examines the extent of natural capital — the forests, fields, wetlands and other ecosystems — in the Lower Mainland region and its watersheds, and for the first time estimates economic values for the benefits these ecosystems provide.

"Nature provides these services for free, but the benefits can no longer be ignored," said David Suzuki Foundation science director Faisal Moola. "This study shows that it is time to start accounting for the economic value of nature's benefits in how we manage the growth of our towns and cities." 

The study is a first step towards a more comprehensive accounting of natural capital assets in the region and provides a framework for similar studies across Canada.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the WaterBucket website, and to download a copy of the report, click on Natural Capital in BC's Lower Mainland: Valuing the Benefits from Nature


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Living Water Smart in Metro Vancouver: Surrey Water Balance Model Forum started dialogue about building greener communities and protecting stream health



Convening for Action in Metro Vancouver
In March 2009, the City of Surrey hosted the Metro Vancouver Water Balance Model Forum. The ‘Surrey Forum’ was undertaken as an outreach opportunity for Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative.

The Forum program was built around the 'HOW question' as it pertains to green infrastructure: HOW will the City of Surrey ensure it gets built right; HOW will a consistent regional approach be achieved in Metro Vancouver.

“The City of Surrey hosted the Water Balance Model Forum because we wanted to start a dialogue between policy-makers and project implementers,” states Vincent Lalonde, the City’s General Manager, Engineering. “We approached the program design from a shared responsibility perspective; we explored how policy and legal tools can help developers, regulators and designers collaborate to ensure responsible outcomes.”

“We wanted the policy people to have an appreciation for what is involved in constructing green infrastructure; and we wanted the implementers to understand what the provincial, regional and local goals are....and what we are trying to achieve in Surrey through the use of policy, approved standards and legal tools," adds Vincent Lalonde.


To access the Forum 'homepage' on the Water Bucket website and learn more about the program design, click here.

Special Address by Premier Christy Clark will follow the “Forum within the State of the Island Economic Summit” on October 18 at the Nanaimo Conference Centre


Convening for Action on Vancouver Island 
In October, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) hosts its 5th Annual Summit. As part of the program, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island is holding a “Forum within the Summit” on the afternoon of October 18th. The Forum startts at 12:30pm and ends at 3:30pm.

The Forum theme is “The Public Infrastructure Dilemma: How will we sustain our water, our streets, and ourselves?”

“Local governments in British Columbia are faced with this financial challenge: the initial capital cost of infrastructure is about 20% of the life-cycle cost; the other 80% largely represents a future unfunded liability. Each year, the funding shortfall grows. As infrastructure ages and fails, local governments cannot keep up with renewal and/or replacement. Fiscal constraints provide a powerful impetus for doing business differently," states Glen Brown, Executive Director with the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. His responsibilities encompass local government infrastructure and finance. Glen Brown is also Deputy Inspector of Municipalities.

TO LEARN MORE: To register for the Forum, click here. The cost of registration is $75. Upcoming weekly announcements will provide Forum program details. To register separatey for the Premier's Summit Address, go to www.viea.ca/summit  

To access the Forum 'homepage' on the Water Bucket website and learn more about the program design, click here.

News Release #2011-43
September 29, 2011



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure: Reduce Your 'Hydrologic Footprint' and Protect Stream Health




Water Sustainability in British Columbia
The technical program for the 2009 BC Ground Water Association Convention included a session on water sustainability so that the groundwater community would be informed about provincial initiatives underway in BC, and the implications for groundwater.

"The speakers/presentations were cascading in scope...from high-level to ground-level. Their unifying theme was how can we create the future that we want," states Gilles Wendling, technical program co-organizer. 

After Oliver Brandes and Lynn Kriwoken had provided the 'big picture', Kim Stephens elaborated on why water sustainability will be achieved by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices.

How Land is Developed
"In speaking to a groundwater-oriented audience, my objective was to connect the dots between land development activities and groundwater protection. In particular, I wanted to eatablish the relevance of the hydrologic footprint concept," stated Kim Stephens when explaining his presentation about the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. 

"The equation is a simple one: reducing our hydrologic footprint is good for the groundwater resource....because protecting the land surface from being stripped and paved reduces rainwater runoff and increases the potential for groundwater recharge."

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure: Reduce Your 'Hydrologic Footprint' and Protect Stream Health.


Metro Vancouver Board adopts strategy and timelines for replacing Lions Gate and Iona Island sewage treatment plants


Moving Beyond Regulatory Compliance
In May 2010, the Metro Vancouver Board took a giant step forward when it adopted the Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan, completed in November 2009. 

The centrepiece of the plan is the implementation strategy for replacing the ~50-year old Lions Gate and Iona Island primary sewage plants with advanced treatment facilities. The total cost for the two is an estimated $1.4 billion.

The Challenge: How to Finance $1.4 Billion
The plan adopted by the Board commits the region to completing Lions Gate by 2020, and Iona Island as soon as possible after 2020. The critical issue is how will Metro Vancouver fund the $1.4 billion cost in an era when senior governments are in deficit; and local governments cannot count on 3-way equal sharing of infrastructure costs with provincial and federal governments.

Just before the vote, Board Chair Lois Jackson called for development of a ‘senior government communication strategy’ about the region's funding need. She challenged all the Directors to convey the Metro Vancouver message about the need for senior government cost-sharing at any and every opportunity when there is contact with federal and provincial representatives.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website about the Board decision, click on Metro Vancouver Board adopts precedent-setting Integrated Liquid Waste & Resource Management Plan

1st Announcement: “The Public Infrastructure Dilemma: How will we sustain our water, our streets, and ourselves?”


Register now for the “Forum within the State of the Island Economic Summit” on October 18 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre   
In exactly three weeks, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) is hosting its 5th Annual Summit. As part of the program, CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island is holding a “Forum within the Summit” on the afternoon of October 18th. The Forum is designed for local government, and is co-hosted by VIEA’s Sustainability Committee. The Forum will be followed by an address from Premier Christy Clark.
“The Forum program is built around the ‘infrastructure liability’ theme. Each year, the funding shortfall grows. Fiscal constraints provide a driver for a change in the way local governments plan, finance, implement, and over time replace infrastructure. The Forum is relevant to all who are involved in land use planning, land development and municipal infrastructure,” states Derek Richmond, Manager of Engineering with the City of Courtenay. He is the CAVI Chair-Elect.
“Land use planning is the function that precedes the ‘form’ – engineering and implementation. We know that the time to shape future life-cycle costs is at the infrastructure planning front-end. Cooperative planning and engineering at the front end ensures the right deliverables. In the Comox Valley, we are striving within the existing governance framework to align and integrate our efforts at a watershed scale. On October 18th, the Forum will showcase the Comox Valley experience in working towards the goal of Sustainable Service Delivery.” 

THE LINKING ISLAND LEADERS PROJECT: The Forum will also feature VIEA’s Linking Island Leaders Project. Initiated in 2009, the findings and recommendations were unveiled at the 2010 Summit. The Link Team found that a groundswell is building up and down the Island for regional collaboration. "Collaboration with CAVI creates an early opportunity for success in moving forward with the Linking Island Leaders Project," states Rick Roberts, VIEA Past-Chair. The following day he is moderating a session titled The Link Project - One Year Later.

TO REGISTER: The cost of registration is $75. To register for the “Forum within the Summit” via CivicInfo BC, click on this link: http://www.civicinfo.bc.ca/event/ForumwithintheSummit.asp

TO LEARN MORE: To access the Forum 'homepage' on the Water Bucket website and learn more about the Forum context and program design, click here. To download a document that explains the Forum structure and foreshadows what will be covered, click on Convening for Action Vision for the Forum within the Summit

News Release #2011-42
September 27, 2011


2nd Announcement: Peer-Based Learning Will Help Local Governments Implement ‘Watershed Blueprints’ in BC


Register now for the “Course on the ISMP Course Correction”. Nov 9-10 at Surrey Arts Centre  
Conditions imposed by the BC Minister of Environment in Metro Vancouver provide a driver for a ‘course correction’ in the way Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs) are developed. To fill a professional development need, the Partnership for Water Sustainability is spearheading a peer-based learning program. The centrepiece is a 2-day course titled ISMP Course Correction: Achieve More with Less. The City of Surrey will host the first course on November 9-10.

“The 2-day course will benefit all those who are involved in land use planning, land development and municipal infrastructure. We will show how to integrate the site with the watershed and the stream. The course has eight modules. These are building blocks to create a ‘watershed blueprint’. We will guide participants through the stages and steps in developing a plan that is balanced, landscape-based and financially sustainable,” states Carrie Baron, Surrey’s Drainage and Environment Manager.

“We will provide examples from around Metro Vancouver and from the Capital Region; we will illustrate how sharing and learning from each other allows municipalities to achieve more with less; and we will demonstrate how to apply the right tools. Integration is the KEY MESSAGE – integration with the ecosystem, recreation, land use and community groups. Use effective green infrastructure, lighten the ‘water footprint’, and protect stream health,” concludes Carrie Baron.

CREATE A WATERSHED BLUEPRINT: "An ISMP is a potentially powerful tool. It can influence other municipal processes for the better. It can generate the blueprint for truly integrated and coordinated action at a watershed scale," adds Richard Boase, Vice-President of the Partnership for Water Sustainabilty. 

"Participants will learn from those with experience about methodologies and tools that will help them: 1) get the watershed vision right; 2) establish achievable performance targets; 3) create an affordable watershed blueprint; and, 4) integrate with other processes and/or plans to incrementally implement the watershed blueprint over decades."

TO LEARN MORE: To access the ISMP Course Correction 'homepage' on the Water Bucket website and learn more about the program design, click here.  

News Release #2011-41
September 27, 2011


Saturday, September 24, 2011

British Columbians are keen to protect rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands, a new poll finds



"We love our water, so much that we want new rules to protect the elixir of life. Water is the most highly valued natural resource we have, according to a new poll from the McAllister polling group done for WWF Canada and the Vancouver Foundation," writes Linda Nowlan in an article published by The Tyee.

Four key changes are needed, states Linda Nowlan, and the government is poised to act on them all:
  • Put stream health first
  • Secondly, change the rules around water governance 
  • Then we have water allocation 
  • Next up is groundwater
"How strong are the province's current water law proposals? The fine details have not yet been released, but all indications are that we're on the right track. The government's pledges to 'modernize' the Water Act are well underway," summarizes Linda Nowlan.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete article online, click on  Our Most Loved Resource? Water; and to download a copy, click here

Linda Nowlan is an environmental lawyer in Vancouver who served on the Canadian Council of Academies' Expert Panel on Groundwater, the BC Independent Drinking Water Review Panel, and is the author of numerous reports on water and environmental law, including Practising Shared Water Governance in Canada: A Primer and Buried Treasure: Groundwater Permitting and Pricing in Canada.


British Columbia's Don Mavinic receives 2010 Manning Innovation Award for techno-fix that could help feed the world


Phosphorus Recovery System Turns Problem Waste into Valuable Product  
Dr. Donald S. Mavinic is the creative force behind a unique technology to recover the vital nutrient phosphate from otherwise pipe-clogging and polluting compounds in wastewater. He and his research team at the University of British Columbia have received a 2010 Manning Innovation Award for a now globally applied technology in recovering nutrients (especially phosphorus) from wastewater.

“I don’t worry so much about oil, because you have alternate sources of energy. I worry about water and I worry about phosphorus. Without ‘em, nothing can live," states Dr. Mavinic. 

“The UBC research effort has been all about producing a sustainable and marketable fertilizer; and we have succeeded! We have demonstrated that we can produce a slow-release and non-burning fertilizer from sewage. As long as there are people, sewage-based fertilizer will be a renewable and sustainable resource," explains Dr. Mavinic.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on theWater Bucket website, click on British Columbia's Don Mavinic receives 2010 Manning Innovation Award for techno-fix that could help feed the world

Also, to learn more about the education and career of Don Mavinic, click on Engineering grad's fertile solution rooted in UWindsor experience


Town of Oliver case study featured at 2006 Water Balance Model Training Workshop at UBC-Okanagan



Workshop Theme: "Rainwater Management & Green Subdivision Design"
In February 2006, the University of British Columbia Okanagan was the venue for a training workshop on the Water Balance Model for British Columbia, a web-based decision support and scenario modeling tool for rainwater source control evaluation.  Organized by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) in collaboration with the Inter-Governmental Partnership, the workshop was initiated by the City of Kelowna to provide Southern Interior design professionals and others with hands-on training in a computer lab setting.

The Willowglen subdivision in the Town of Oliver was used as a case study example to illustrate the application of scenario modelling to achieve performance targets, while at the same time making the exercise realistic.

On-site rainwater capture and ground discharge has for several decades been the preferred practice in the Town of Oliver. "We view this approach as good engineering; it makes sense," stated Terry Underwood, the City's longstanding engineering consultant of record.

TO LEARN MORE: For the complete story on the workshop program and what was accomplished, click on Design with Nature & Rainwater Management: APEGBC organizes and UBC-Okanagan hosts Water Balance Model Training Workshop.

To gain insight into how the training session was structured, click on Lesson Plan for Water Balance Model Training Workshop held in Kelowna at UBC-Okanagan University.



Rainwater Management in Sooke: District develops BC's first 'Liquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater'


Framework for On-the-Ground Solutions
The District of Sooke is the first BC municipality to produce a stand-alone Liquid Waste Management Plan for Rainwater. “We followed the Ministry of Environment’s ‘Proposed Guidelines for Preparing Liquid Waste Management Plans’, released in March 2004. At the same time, we updated our OCP. The timing was perfect. This provided direction,” reports Laura Byrne, Engineering Technologist.

“Partnerships are so vital. Furthermore, networking was key to doing the Liquid Waste Management Plan affordably. By working with other agencies, and not duplicating efforts, we got it done. Now we are proceeding with development of Rainwater Management Plans for 18 watersheds over 7 years. Four are completed.” 

“Because Sooke is a small municipality with limited financial resources, we have had to pare down and make the plans practical in order to be affordable. Again, networking and collaboration are making it possible for us to do this effectively.”

“The Rainwater Management Plans provide a framework for the development of on-the-ground solutions for the management of rainwater at a watershed scale. Also, they integrate planning for drainage infrastructure and ecological assessment and restoration with municipal planning processes. This integrated approach provides solutions to drainage and ecological concerns.  We recognize the value of healthy watersheds – we know what we have to protect.”

TO LEARN MORE: The above story about innovation and leadership in the District of Sooke is extracted from Chapter 7 of Beyond the Guidebook 2010, released in June 2010. This water-centric guidance document tells the stories of how change is being implemented on the ground in BC.




Friday, September 23, 2011

New Neighbourhoods and Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley Township


Celebrating Green Infrastructure
In 2007,Langley Township was a host municipality for the second year of the Showcasing Green Infastructure Innovation in Greater Vancouver Series.

“The Township is walking the talk when it comes to putting sustainability into practice,” Colin Wright (General Manager, Engineering) stated at the 2007 event. “As municipalities, we are the focal point. We have to show leadership on-the-ground. We have to be in harmony with nature. When we are in harmony with nature, things will go well. In Langley, we believe there is a sea-change about to happen. The community is ready for green infrastructure.”

“The Routley, Yorkson and Northeast Gordon neighbourhood communities illustrate how a ‘water-centric’ approach is changing the way that land is developed in Langley,” stated Ramin Seifi, Director of the Community Development Division.

“Each neighbourhood features a different green innovation: A multi-purpose greenway and shallow infiltration systems on individual residential properties were first implemented in Routley; a ‘third-pipe system’ for roof drainage connects to a sand filtration treatment system and deep-well injection for aquifer recharge in Yorkson; and most recently, we have built truly ‘green streets’ in North East Gordon Estates.”

The Langley event focused on how a ‘water-centric’ approach is changing the way that land is developed. The Township showcased what can be accomplished with large-scale projects when Council, the community and staff are in alignment and embrace a ‘green culture’. Resource protection – for groundwater supply and fisheries habitat – is the driver for implementing ‘green infrastructure’.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Township of Langley Showcases Green Infrastructure Innovation in New Neighbourhoods

The above story about innovation and leadership in Metro Vancouver is extracted from Chapter 7 of Beyond the Guidebook 2010, released in June 2010. This water-centric guidance document tells the stories of how change is being implemented on the ground in BC. To download a PDF copy of the article, click on New Neighbourhoods and Green Infrastructure Innovation in Langley

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vision for ‘Water Balance Model Express’ introduced to Elected Representatives in Metro Vancouver Region


Originally developed to meet the stormwater management planning needs of Metro Vancouver municipalities, the Water Balance Model has become “British Columbia’s tool”. Use of the Water Balance Model (WBM) enables planners and engineers to design communities so that they have no net impact on stream environments.  


On September 14, Metro Vancouver regional politicians were introduced to the vision for the WBM Express for Homeowners. “Stream health depends on ALL properties in a watershed. We have known this since the 1990s. The ‘missing link’ has been the single family detached dwelling. We now have the tools and experience to manage rain where it falls. This means municipalities can fulfill senior government regulatory requirements,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability.

“The ultimate target actually audience goes well beyond homeowners. The Partnership sees the WBM Express as a vehicle to connect with builders, developers, consultants, real estate agents and students/educators.”

Kim Stephens also provided this historical perspective: “UniverCity, the sustainable community atop Burnaby Mountain, was the catalyst for reinventing urban hydrology. This resulted in the Water Balance Methodology. That was more than a decade ago. At the same time, the City of Surrey was planning its East Clayton sustainable community. Surrey built on the UniverCity experience and evolved the Water Balance Methodology through a succession of watershed applications.” 

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Vision for ‘Water Balance Model Express’ Introduced to Elected Representatives in Metro Vancouver Region.

News Release #2011-40
September 22, 2011


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference showcases “Mission Possible: Convening for Action in British Columbia”



Last Chance to Register for Cross-Border Signature Event on October 25-27
The Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is the largest, most comprehensive scientific research and policy conference in the region. Co-hosted by Environment Canada and the Puget Sound Partnership, the 2011 conference emphasizes the importance of collaboration among scientists and policymakers to solve complex environmental issues that cross political borders.

“The opening plenary comprises a Local Government Leaders Panel. They will speak to ‘Land Use and Growth’. Our Mission Possible forum session follows the plenary. We are showcasing how a ‘convening for action’ philosophy has taken root in BC,” states Tim Pringle, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

“A decade ago, the Province of British Columbia made a conscious decision to follow an educational rather than prescriptive path to change practices for the use and conservation of land and water. Practical research and new tools are now enabling engineers, planners and other disciplines to do business differently. It is about turning the whole game around to collaborate as regional teams and design with nature.”

"A provincial goal is settlement change that is in balance with ecology. Use of the phrase ‘design with nature’ is facilitating a paradigm-shift in the local government setting. Our Mission Possible forum will showcase guiding principles for creating change on the ground."

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on Water Bucket, click on Salish Sea Ecosystem Conferenceshowcases “Mission Possible: Convening for Action in British Columbia”

“We are approaching maximum capacity at the venue,” reports Jennie Wang, Strategic Integration and Partnerships Division, Environment Canada. She advises that early registration has exceeded expectations; and urges those who have not yet registered to do so NOW.

For details of the conference program, AND TO REGISTER, click on Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

News Release #2011-39
September 20, 2011


Saturday, September 17, 2011

City of Surrey - "From Pilot Projects to a Watershed Objectives Approach"


Integration of Sustainability Objectives
“Looking back, it is sometimes hard to believe that almost a decade has passed since the City initiated the East Clayton plan. With the passage of time, we tend to take the early innovation for granted. From my perspective, one aspect which really stands out about the East Clayton plan is the integration of sustainability objectives," stated Paul Ham, General Manager of Engineering, when the City of Surrey hosted the second event in the 2006 Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation Series.

In providing context for City of Surrey actions over time, Ham highlighted three provincial initiatives that had an early influence on City of Surrey thinking, in particular Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia.

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story on the Water Bucket website, click on City of Surrey - "From Pilot Projects to a Watershed Objectives Approach"


Rain Gardens at Bus Bulges Protect Stream Health in the City of North Vancouver


Bus Bulges Minimize Impact of Built Environment
The City of North Vancouver is leading by example in demonstrating on-the-ground applications of a 'design with nature' way-of-thinking and acting. This is illustrated by drainage features constructed within the highly urban Lonsdale Avenue corridor.

"Rain gardens have been included in bus bulges on Lonsdale to minimize the impact of the built environment on the City's small streams.  But this is just part of the picture,” states Tony Barber, Manager of Engineering Planning and Design.

"The rain gardens also help to sustain the adjacent street trees and make the streetscape a more comfortable and attractive environment for walking. Studies have shown that appealing streetscapes also improve the viability of adjacent businesses."

"As far as the bus bulges themselves, they reduce transit dwell times and therefore help to make transit a more attractive alternative.  So to sum it up, these bus bulges help to contribute to the social, economic and environmental aspects of the sustainability of the City of North Vancouver."

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Rain Gardens at Bus Bulges Protect Stream Health in the City of North Vancouver.

Inter-departmental integration in the City of Campbell River facilitates 'green' development


Campbell River Innovation & Leadership
At the 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series, Rob Buchan explained the City of Campbell River’s approach to inter-departmental integration; and how the Development Review Committee is helping to achieve the City’s sustainability vision. He is the manager of the newly created Land Use Services Department.

“Two major considerations in working together are structure and small ‘c’ culture,” stated Rob Buchan. “Our new structure facilitates working together. Everyone in the department has something to do with land use and development.”

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website, click on Inter-departmental integration in the City of Campbell River facilitates 'green' development. To view a YouTube video of Rob Buchan describing the Campbell River approach, click on What it takes to work together effectively (3:37)