VIDEO: “The ultimate vision for Sustainability Service Delivery is that communities would manage natural assets in the same way that they manage their engineered assets,” stated Glen Brown

Solutions and Tools for Building Water-Resilient Communities

In December 2015, the Feast AND Famine Workshop addressed this over-arching question: What should we expect and what can we do to build “water-resilient communities”? The program comprised four modules that were cascading – from high-level visioning to ground-level applications. Adaptation to a changing climate was a unifying theme.

2015_Feast & Famine Workshop_modules_v3

Adaptation to a Changing Climate

Western North America may be crossing an invisible threshold into a different hydro-meteorological regime. Annual volumes of water entering and exiting regions are not necessarily changing. Instead, what is changing is how and when water arrives – it is flood and drought!

Module D closed the loop by connecting the dots back to Module A and the global perspective on climate change provided by Bob Sandford. He had painted a picture of WHY we need to change our practices.

In Module D, the presentations by Glen Brown (Union of BC Municipalities) and Kirby Ell (Irrigation Industry Association) allowed the audience to leave the workshop with positive thoughts on the practical little things that we can do, and that accumulate to make a big difference.

Asset Management Continuum_Jan2016_rev0

Asset Management Continuum

Released in December 2014, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework is a game-changer. It makes the link between local government services, the infrastructure that supports the delivery of those services, and the health of watershed systems.

The Feast AND Famine Workshop, provided a forum for Glen Brown of UBCM to introduce the “asset management continuum” as a metaphor for describing incremental progression to Sustainability Service Delivery.

Glen Brown is the General Manager, UBCM Victoria Operations. Previously he was an Executive Director in the provincial government.

Moving Towards Sustainable Service Delivery

Glen Brown_Mar-2015_DSC_0506_120p“Implementation of asset management along with the associated evolution of local government thinking is a continuous process, not a discrete task. We needed a way to illustrate this diagrammatically. This led us to the concept of a continuum,” he explained.

“The continuum bridges two pieces. One piece is recognition that the asset management process is founded on an incremental approach. The other piece is integration of natural capital, natural assets and watershed systems thinking.”


Watersheds as Infrastructure Assets

A watershed is an integrated system. The natural pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are “infrastructure assets”; and those pathways provide water balance services. This is why it is necessary to protect and/or restore hydrologic integrity in urban areas to preserve or redistribute the seasonal water balance.

A systems approach to watershed health and protection recognizes that actions on the land have consequences for the three pathways to streams and hence the water balance of the watershed. Those consequences are felt in both dry weather and wet weather – too little or too much water, respectively.

The Fall 2015 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. Co-authored by Kim Stephens (Partnership Executive Director), Kate Miller (Cowichan Valley Regional District) and Richard Boase (District of North Vancouver), the article provides context and describes why “Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework” and two other provincial game-changers are drivers for Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management.


To Learn More:

To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Glen Brown, click on Integrating Natural Capital into Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery:  A BC Framework.

To download a copy of the short version  of Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework, CLICK HERE.

To download and read the complete article by Kim Stephens et al in the Fall 2015 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter, click on Feast AND Famine: Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”

Branding graphic for "Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A Framework for BC". To download a copy, click on

Branding graphic for “Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A Framework for BC”. To download a copy, click on