ARTICLE: “Restore the Balance in Water Balance – Climate Change is Another Variable When Planning for Sustainable Service Delivery, Dealing With Uncertainty, and Managing Risk,” (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2021)
Note to Reader:
The Summer 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article co-written by Kim Stephens and Robert Hicks of the Partnership for Water Sustainability to open minds.
Kim Stephens is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability. He has played a leadership role in a series of provincial initiatives over the past three decades.
Robert Hicks has over 25 years of utility policy and planning experience in regional and municipal government and holds a Certificate in Local Government Service Delivery issued through UBCM and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. He was part of the team that conceived the partnership and collaboration framework for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for BC.
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Restore the Balance in the Water Balance
“Robert Hicks and I have observed that, for all the talk over a long period of time about climate change and what it means, many local government practitioners still lack a full understanding of some foundational concepts and how to translate such concepts into resilient solutions and actions that would benefit their communities. In our article, we provide food for thought,” stated Kim Stephens.
“Too often, in our experience, there is a tendency to add layers of complexity and lose sight of the nature of a problem as well as the obvious solution. Our purpose in writing the article, then, was introduce the Asset Management BC readership to a foundational concept, namely Water OUT=Water IN, and open minds to spark conversations within local governments about what this deceptively simple equation means from the operational perspective.”
Uncertainty and Risk
“The key message in our article is that climate change is not a driver; rather, it is another variable. Climate change is only one factor to consider when we talk about sustainable infrastructure and sustainable water supply. The real issues are uncertainty and risk, more specifically how we deal with the first and manage the latter,” continued Robert Hicks.
“A constant challenge for planning is not to prevent past events, but instead is to use past experiences to inform and create flexible strategies for the present and the future. Furthermore, this need for flexibility is not restricted to the immediate scope of the problem at hand; but must also consider the broader juggling of evolving local government priorities and service demands.”
“This leads to the challenge of assessing problems with sufficient complexity to arrive at flexible and resilient solutions, while at the same time not being overwhelmed and paralyzed by over-analysis.”
To Learn More:
To read the complete article, download a copy of Restore the Balance in Water Balance – Climate Change is Another Variable When Planning for Sustainable Service Delivery, Dealing With Uncertainty, and Managing Risk