ARTICLE: “Elephant in the Room – Drainage and the Unfunded Infrastructure Liability” (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Winter 2021)

Note to Reader:

The Winter 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article co-written by Kim Stephens and Tim Pringle of the Partnership for Water Sustainability about EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process.

The context for the EAP program is Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. The program driver is the “unfunded infrastructure liability” typically associated with drainage, in particular the financial consequences over time when stream channels are degraded and riparian integrity is compromised.


Elephant in the Room: Drainage and the Unfunded Infrastructure Liability

One of Banksy’s most controversial pieces, named The Elephant in the Room, debuted at his first US exhibition – “Barely Legal”. This piece showcased Tai, a 38-year-old elephant, whom was painted to match the color pattern on the wall.

It is All About the Service!

“A central idea of the EAP methodology is that a stream system has a ‘package of ecological services‘.  This concept refers to the combined range of uses desired by the community. Three key words capture the essence of what the phrase ‘range of uses’ means, namely: drainage, recreation and habitat. This is plain language that elected Councils and Boards understand,” states Tim Pringle, EAP Chair.

“EAP supports local governments to operationalize ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of stream corridor systems under the umbrella of their Asset Management Plans. EAP provides the methodology and metrics necessary to achieve this goal.”

Sustainable Creekshed Systems and the Asset Management Continuum

“EAP focuses on drainage and the condition and/or integrity of stream corridors. Both natural and constructed assets need to be addressed in the drainage context. Both are systems and therefore require similar M&M strategies. Drainage infrastructure, or lack thereof, is typically an unfunded liability that grows over time. It is the elephant in the room,” continues Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.

“EAP supports local governments intending to adopt a life-cycle approach to M&M of natural assets much as it would apply to constructed assets.  Effective M&M of natural assets requires commitment backed up by line items in an annual report.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete article, download a copy of Elephant in the Room: Drainage and the Unfunded Infrastructure Liability