CSA Group develops how-to guide for municipalities to integrate water standards

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Standards development organization CSA Group has published a municipal how-to guide for local officials to maintain high community water standards in the face of growing threats from climate change.

CSA says that municipalities “shoulder the burden of responding to these events and their aftermath,” and need help. Focusing on flood resiliency, stormwater, bioretention systems, as well as erosion and sediment control, the new guide highlights a three-step process to integrate CSA standards into municipal planning.

“Our ultimate goal is to have networks of resilient communities supporting each other,” announced Michael Leering, director of environment and business excellence at CSA Group, in a statement. “For a municipality to truly be resilient, their neighbouring municipalities must also be working towards the same goals and implementing the same standards,” he added.

In step one, the CSA guide recommends that municipalities assemble a “toolbox” that takes stock of elements already in place, such as existing municipal bylaws and other strategic documents. The guide suggests taking advantage of established CSA standards for stormwater management (CSA W211:21), bioretention system design (CSA W200-18), and flood resilience design (CSA W204:19), to name just a few.

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CSA views step two as finding gaps where new tools in the toolbox, or standards, can be implemented. This can come through the municipality’s leaders answering a series of questions. Examples of these could be: Does your municipal Zoning Bylaw or Land Use Bylaw limit development in areas subject to flooding? Does your municipality’s Stormwater Management Plan encourage low-impact development and/or green infrastructure for stormwater management? Or, does your municipality (or Conservation Authority) require developers to prepare and submit an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan? The guide then links local officials to the relevant CSA standard when answering these types of questions.

The third and final step recommended by the new guide is for municipalities to integrate these standards by reference into existing policies and guidelines or develop new ones. For instance, the CSA Community Water standards can be implemented under community plans, zoning bylaws, subdivision agreements, and many more.

The guide also suggests ways to implement certain requirements, such as bioretention standards, directly into new contracts and requests for proposals.

To develop the guide as a resource for urban planners, managers, and elected municipal officials, CSA collaborated with four Canadian municipalities impacted by flooding in recent years: Colwood, British Columbia; High River, Alberta; Lakeshore, Ontario; and Cambridge, Ontario.

“The launch of a guide to support municipal uptake of CSA Group standards provides an important tool for interpretation and decision making,” announced Lisa Prime, chief planner for the City of Cambridge, in a statement. “Municipalities can benefit from further opportunities to meet technical performance requirements for development through standards,” she added.

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