DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British  Columbia: Asset management is an awkward term and confuses everyone” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in April 2022


Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate; and embrace “design with nature” approaches to reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes. 

The edition published on April 26, 2022, featured an essay by Wally Wells, Executive Director of Asset Management BC. By focusing on the distinction between a “plan” and a “strategy”, Wally’s storyline goes to the heart of output-oriented versus outcome-oriented approaches.

Asset Management is a Strategy, not a Plan

“A conversation with Wally Wells is always fun. It is not just that he is enthusiastic and passionate about asset management which some might consider a dry topic. Wally is a deep thinker and draws on many, many decades of experience to put engineering practices in context,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“When Wally Wells asked me to read What’s in a WORD: The word ‘Plan’, his storyline resonated. Time and again in my career, I have observed a pattern much like what Wally describes in his article. All too often, our engineering profession takes a seemingly simple concept or idea, surrounds it with layers of complexity, and ultimately confuses everyone.”

What is a Master Plan, really?

“A Plan usually talks about things in the future with choices on both potential services, assets to provide the service, costs and timing premised often on growth assumptions.  These are usually called Master Plans and are related to specific services or asset classes. For decades, we have trained our elected officials to understand the decision process and flexibility available for them when presented with a Master Plan,” stated Wally Wells.

“Councils have choices of doing or not doing the recommended activities based on growth and service needs. There is often few consequences and little risk in doing or not doing the suggested activities.”

“The same flexibility, risk and consequences of a decision are not the same with the Asset Management Plan. The plan, other than based on ‘futures’, is based on existing services and service levels. So why call it a plan?”


To read the complete story published on April 26th 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British  Columbia: Asset management is an awkward term and confuses everyone.