Click on the individual links to the Express for North Vancouver District, Cowichan Region, City of Surrey, City of Coquitlam and Comox Valley in British Columbia; and Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton
Framed for a broad audience, “DRainscapes” is a three-minute animation that explains the link between a single yard and the watershed system. “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.
Drainage Modelling in the 21st Century: “What we now know about what drives a successful model,” explains Dr. Charles Rowney
“I do a lot of talking around North America and elsewhere about models and model requirements. As a result, I have been able to distil a synthesis of the opinions of several hundred people from all around the world who I consider to be the premier people in their field. When we discussed the question…what are the major issues?…seven themes emerged,” stated Charles Rowney.
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC has established three categories of model users, each with a different degree of access to the various features of the ‘Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO’. General Users are limited to registering under the Free Trial Account category. The account and any scenarios created by the General User will be deleted thirty (30) days from the date of registration,” explains Kim Stephens, Executive Director.
“The community of Water Balance Model users had been asking for a technical manual that documents the intelligent WBM interface that translates user information into data used by the QUALHYMO engine. The lens for manual development was the engineering user who wants to follow the numbers from the WBM interface keystroke to the QUALHYMO file. In a nutshell, it is all about data mapping,” stated Richard Boase.
Jim Dumont is the Engineering Applications Authority for the Water Balance Model Partnership. He is a recognized specialist in hydrologic modelling. Jim Dumont evolved the Water Balance Methodology to address the relationship between rainfall volume control and resulting flow rates in streams; and developed the Stream Health Methodology as the technical foundation for the ‘Beyond the Guidebook’ initiative in 2007. This methodology correlated stream erosion as a measure of stream health.
“When our long term collaborator at the District of North Vancouver, Richard Boase, informed us of some of the new tools available to support rainwater management and planning in the District, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate them into an assignment for the Urban Watershed Management course,” states Julie Wilson. “The students appreciated the power and utility of these kinds of tools to engage with the public on issues of development and rainwater management.”
“The lesson in the study of soil formation is that water does not move continuously downward as a result of saturated conditions. Generally the hydrologically active soil layers are limited to the upper 600 mm or so with a majority of situations the groundwater levels are deeper. In these cases the water will move sideways until one of two things occurs: 1) it reaches a stream, or 2) it finds a discontinuity in the soil that would allow it to move downward,” stated Jim Dumont. “There is a need to understand the soils that are present on a site so as to be able to describe how the water moves through the soil.”
“By applying the Drainage Infrastructure Screening Tool, it is now quite easy for local governments to check and verify the relative impact of a changing climate on conveyance capacity. The resilience of a system depends on the capacity a system has now and how drastic future climate change might be. The tool also makes it is easy to assess the relative significance of changes in land use, in particular densification,” stated Jim Dumont.
“Given the huge knowledge bases that the sciences have built up around the hydrology of urban watersheds, it can come as a surprise when we realize how little is known about some of the basics. The urban tree canopy is an example. This is a technical area where the fundamentals are well understood, but the empirical basis, the availability of actual observations, is still in its infancy. When it comes to the urban canopy, we just don’t have a lot to go on,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney.
“For the twelve BC and Alberta stations now in the Water Balance Model database, the Climate Change Module generates results for the years 2020, 2050 and 2080,” reports Chris Jensen. “The Climate Change Module allows communities to easily assess potential impacts and how land use decisions can either reduce or exacerbate impacts. It builds on the exceptional technical foundation provided by the WBM engine and web technology, and extends it to reflect emerging needs.”
Article in Canadian Water Resources Association RUNOFF Newsletter (2008): “Water Balance Model powered by QUALHYMO integrates the site with the watershed and the stream”
The April 2008 issue of Runoff includes an article co-authored by Paul Ham, Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership. The article highlights several key messages in providing a concise overview of the considerations that have led to integration of two hydrologic models. The significant benefit of the “new Water Balance Model” is the resulting emphasis on strategy and alternative implementation methodologies, as well as the focus on a multitude of design details available to achieve the desired objectives.
Article in Stormwater Magazine (2011): “Rainwater Management in a Watershed Context – What’s the Goal?”
Co-authored by Kim Stephens (shown) and Jim Dumont, the article elaborates on how science-based understanding has informed the process for moving from awareness to action in British Columbia. The article also provides the “convening for action” context for development and application of the Water Balance Model to achieve green infrastructure outcomes. “While land use and infrastructure professionals are using a similar vocabulary on both sides of the border, our goals appear different,” they wrote.
The Lower Mainland’s exceptional B.C. public service employees were the focus of a ceremony in February 2009 hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell, where the recipients of regional Premier’s Innovation and Excellence Awards acknowledging their creativity and dedication were announced. The Water Balance Model for British Columbia was one of the award winners.