Diverting rainwater runoff would increase our climate resilience

Opinion: Letters to the Vancouver Sun.

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Re: Metro water consumption is “too high”

This Vancouver Sun article is excellent as far as it goes.

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However, it fails to mention the colossal waste of free rainwater inherent in the very design of our “stormwater management system.” Look at any street, parking lot, or building roof and you’ll see surfaces that dump rainwater almost exclusively into municipal storm sewers.

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The purpose of these culverts (and they are very effective) is to channel rainwater into the Salish Sea as quickly as possible; It doesn’t matter that our trees, gardens and urban parks desperately need that water to thrive and thus mitigate climate extremes for us.

Whether rain gardens or “sponge parks,” green roofs or disconnected roof downspouts that drain into trees and shrubs, every time we divert rainwater from pipes into the garden (with a safety drain located there), we increase our climate resilience.

Every additional drop stored in soil and vegetation reduces the triple threat of drought, wildfires and flooding posed by heat domes, long dry spells and atmospheric rivers.

The City of Surrey has long played host to unplugged “roof leaders” (as they call the downspouts).

The city of Delta has adopted rain gardens, including some on municipal boulevards that receive runoff from non-municipal lands.

However, in both cases, we ask our municipal drainage engineers to accept responsibility for contravening provincial drainage regulations. Unless these standards are modernized to address the new reality of water scarcity, our region and indeed our entire province will continue to waste precious rainwater that could and should be stored in nature’s free reservoir: the soil.

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Deborah Jones, Delta

Water meters should be required.

One conservation measure that was not mentioned is water metering for all residential users.

In Surrey, where 70 per cent of single-family homes are metered, Metro Vancouver’s water purchases over the past 15 years have remained constant, while the population has grown about 45 per cent, according to a Metro report .

Homeowners with hot tubs, pools and automated lawn irrigation systems would pay more; and everyone else could pay less based on their actual consumption.

A meter would reveal leaks and encourage repair of the water system.

The law should require all new homes in the Lower Mainland to have a water meter installed. Existing homeowners should be offered an incentive to upgrade a water meter. Wireless water meters are available that make collecting data for billing affordable for municipalities.

Derek Wilson, Port Moody

Water supply in the metro: it’s time to put the blame where it belongs

I have some empathy for Metro Vancouver’s director of water services, Linda Parkinson. She has been given the impossible task of “doing more with less.” Government policies implemented over the last decade would surely lead to this type of infrastructure failure. That said, it’s time to put the blame where it belongs.

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Standards of living and quality of life are plummeting across the Western world, and nowhere worse than in Canada. Our leadership at all three levels of government does not have a vision for a better Canada. Instead, everyone is focusing on how to minimize the worst that could happen, and with their immigration, energy, infrastructure and tax policies they are ensuring that the worst happens.

When Trudeau’s Liberals took power in 2015, Canada was on a roll. Our GDP was increasing significantly thanks to the productivity of Canadians under a government that valued free enterprise. The Trudeau government eschews free enterprise and abhors profits in favor of centralized government and planning, and by implementing these policies it has crippled Canada.

To pay for their irresponsible fiscal policies, they have increased immigration to an unsustainable level. This has and is overloading our infrastructure. Healthcare, education, housing and transportation are obvious victims, as they are all seriously faltering.

We now have a water crisis in Vancouver.

It is not an unreasonable expectation to have an increasing standard and quality of life. Canada is fortunate to be the second largest country in the world with commensurate resources. We have the remains of an amazing infrastructure thanks to the sacrifices of “the greatest generation.” They built mines, dams, oil fields and nuclear power plants to ensure adequate export of resources to ensure a high quality of life. We rest precariously on these laurels.

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If our governments were well-run, Canadians would be enjoying the benefits of our productivity among our Western peers instead of wondering where the next drop of water in this rainforest will come from.

Ric Pow, Delta

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