Greater Vancouver’s Stormwater Management Program

Kirsten Feifel
Posted on: 3/12/2010 - Updated on: 6/18/2021

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Kirsten Feifel

Project Summary

The Greater Vancouver Regional District created the Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (SILG) to develop a coordinated approach to update municipal stormwater management plans. The SILG created a template for municipalities to create watershed-specific Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs). The ISMPs are designed to improve environmental health and reduce the likelihood of community flooding. While climate change adaptation is not an explicit goal, it is an inherent outcome in successful ISMPs.


In 2002, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) formed the SILG to assist municipalities in the coordination and sharing of research relating to stormwater management. The GVRD represents a partnership of 21 municipalities and supports more than two million residents living within multiple watersheds. The SILG has created a template for municipalities to create watershed-specific ISMPs. The ISMP is designed to incorporate flexible and adaptive strategies to improve watershed health through effective land use planning, green engineering, and other measures. While climate change is not the primary driver behind ISMPs, it is an integral component to consider when developing the long-term ISMPs. The goal of the ISMP is to develop a stormwater management plan that does not further reduce the environmental health and quality of the watershed and also protects communities from localized flooding.


To develop each ISMP, an advisory group is created that includes planners, engineers, and watershed representatives interested in development, agriculture, and environmental sectors. ISMPs are open for public comment as well. Ultimately, a widely supported set of adaptive management strategies are outlined in the resulting ISMP. When fully implemented, the ISMP is designed to address potential drainage, erosion, and flooding concerns; protect wetlands; and remediate existing and recognized stormwater problems.

Outcomes and Conclusions

As of January 2010, one municipality has completed its ISMP - Still Creek; multiple others are in development or planned. In the Still Creek ISMP, high level goals, strategies, and actions are outlined to reduce flooding and stream erosion; protect and improve streamside habitat, forests, and water quality; increase native plants and biodiversity; and conduct public outreach and awareness campaigns. All the municipalities in the GVRD have agreed to develop an ISMP by 2014. ISMPs will be regularly reviewed and updated. To support the municipalities’ efforts, SILG has developed a stormwater planning guide and guidelines for green infrastructure development.


Feifel, K. (2010). Greater Vancouver's Stormwater Management Program [Case study on a project of Metro Vancouver]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:’s-stormwater-management-program (Last updated March 2010)

Affiliated Organizations

Metro Vancouver delivers regional services, planning and political leadership for the City of Vancouver and its surrounding municipalities. It is committed to delivering essential utility services and to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life within the region.

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