Vancouver recently approved an ambitious green rainwater infrastructure initiative called the Rain City Strategy.
The strategy will use green rainwater infrastructure to absorb and clean rainwater, thereby improving water quality in the natural environment and resilience to climate change, and also enhancing the city’s natural ecosystems.
Another goal is to better manage water accumulation during extreme rainfall to reduce flooding and improve water quality, moving toward the overall goal of capturing and treating 90 per cent of Vancouver’s average annual rainfall.
The strategy also sets new design standards for green rainwater infrastructure practices, doubling the minimum volume of rainwater managed through green rainwater infrastructure from 24mm per day to 48mm per day and establishing a target to manage rainwater volume and water quality for 40 per cent of Vancouver’s impervious areas by 2050.
Vancouver currently has more than 240 green rainwater infrastructure assets in its streets and many more in parks and other public spaces. One example is a blue-green roof pilot at Helena Gutteridge Plaza at City Hall. The new demo project looks at the benefits of rainwater capture on four types of roofs: conventional, green, blue and blue-green.
“As residents of a coastal city in a temperate rainforest we have a deep connection to water in all its forms,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “However, as we grapple with climate change and Vancouver continues to grow in the decades to come, charting a new course for the way we manage rainwater will be vital.”