While the CSA community water standards are useful as guiding frameworks, their benefits cannot be fully realized until they are integrated into municipal plans and policies. Municipalities requested detailed guidance on how to integrate the CSA Group standards, which is particularly important for small to medium sized municipalities with less capacity and technical expertise. To provide guidance for standard integration, CSA Group collaborated with Colwood, British Columbia, High River, Alberta, Cambridge, Ontario, and Lakeshore Ontario. The guide was further validated by 10+ communities from across Canada through a workshop on the draft guide. The collaborating municipalities shared experiences and materials to support the development of a robust Municipal How-to Guide for CSA Community Water Standards.
The How-to Guide outlines a three-step process:
- Assemble your toolbox. This step involves first identifying existing municipal strategic documents including regional policy documents, municipal long-range documents, development approvals and technical documents. This step also involves understanding the CSA Group water standards and how they can fit into various existing documents and policies.
- Identify the gaps. This step involves understanding the gaps in existing documents and policies to see where the standards can be integrated. The How-to Guide includes a series of questions related to the different planning documents or bylaws that direct a municipality towards either “basic” or “comprehensive” sample language that could be used in these documents that reference one or more standards.
- Develop policies and guidelines. This step involves integrating the standards and customizing language for the municipality to assist with the integration and/or development process.
The How-to Guide also provides other ideas to drive uptake of the standards outside of technical documents and bylaws. Examples include fast-tracking applications that use the standards, offering fee reductions on subdivision/development applications that abide by the standards, flood resilience performance measures, and requiring standards in all municipally funded proposals.