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‘Water Balance Model Express for Landowners’ previewed at workshop hosted by Regional District of Nanaimo

Note to Reader:

In February 2010, the District of Central Saanich adopted its Surface Water Management Bylaw. Because the bylaw encourages landowners to use the Water Balance Model (WBM) to make decisions that achieve a lighter ‘water footprint’, the bylaw became the catalyst for action by the Water Balance Model Partnership to develop a landowner version of the Water Balance Model.


Vision for the Water Balance Model Express

By July 2010, the Central Saanich bylaw had provided the impetus for the Water Balance Model Partnership to bring together a local government focus group in a planning session hosted by Metro Vancouver. The focus group represented a continuum of local governments within the Georgia Basin.  The City of Surrey, District of North Vancouver, Cowichan Valley Regional District and Central Saanich volunteered to demonstrate application of the ‘WBM Express for Landowners’.

“The Partnership vision is that local governments will utilize the Water Balance Model to establish watershed-specific targets; and then translate those targets into widespread action at the site scale. The Partnership believes that the Express version will help local governments drive changes in property owner behavior,” stated Ted van der Gulik, Chair, when the Partnership released a Vision Document in March 2012.

“The Vision Document is the first step in the implementation process for the Water Balance Model Express. The Partnership has developed guiding principles and a framework for tool development. This sets the stage for undertaking technical design and programming in the coming months. In the interim, this Vision Document will serve as a communication tool.”

“The Express is a bottom-up initiative that integrates the site with the watershed and the stream. It is a tool to achieve on-property rainwater management and performance target objectives that will protect stream and watershed health.”

Linking Rainfall to Stream Health

 On June 12, the Regional District of Nanaimo hosted a Water Balance Model Training Workshop. This was attended by ten local governments from four regions on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The workshop provided a timely opportunity to preview the Water Balance Model Express in a focus group setting.

“An increasing building footprint on properties is short-circuiting the WATER BALANCE. This creates risks for local government, both financial and environmental. If we want to make change, then we have to find a way to influence landowners to look at their properties differently,” stated Richard Boase (District of North Vancouver), Co-Chair of the Water Balance Model Partnership.

“HOW the members of the Water Balance Model Partnership plan on doing this is through the Water Balance Model Express for Landowners. As part of the approval process, this tool will allow a landowner to look at what is on the property now; and quantify the kind of footprint change they intend to make. Then they will be able to examine the water impacts associated with that change in footprint; and determine how they can make different decisions about how to manage that change.”

“Three watershed-specific performance targets that link rainfall to stream health are pre-set by local government. When the landowner clicks on a pop-up location map, much like for garbage collection schedules, it pre-sets the target values by zone. The Express guides the landowner through an iterative PASS/FAIL process to select and test options and choices.”

“Stream health depends on ALL properties in a watershed. If everyone reduces their ‘water footprint’, and if we ensure the integrity of groundwater flow, we can then protect stream health,” concluded Richard Boase.

Links to YouTube Video Clips

To hear what Richard Boase had to say at the Nanaimo Workshop, click on the images below (starting with the second) to access a set of video clips posted on YouTube. To download a PDF copy of the slide presentation, click on  WBM Express for Landowners.