Green Infrastructure: Achieve More With Less
A Challenge for Local Government: The Unfunded ‘Infrastructure Liability’
“Local governments in British Columbia are faced with this financial challenge: the initial capital cost of infrastructure is about 20% of the life-cycle cost; the other 80% largely represents a future unfunded liability. Each year, the funding shortfall grows,” write Kim Stephens, Raymond Fung and Anna Warwick Sears in an article published in the January-February 2011 issue of Construction Business Magazine.
“As infrastructure ages and fails, local governments cannot keep up with renewal and/or replacement. Fiscal constraints provide a powerful impetus for doing business differently. Green infrastructure is part of a holistic approach to ‘achieve more with less’.”
Doing Business Differently
“The financial burden and environmental impacts associated with ‘pipe-and-convey’ drainage infrastructure contrast with the benefits of ‘green’ infrastructure at a watershed scale: natural landscape-based assets reduce runoff volumes, have lower life-cycle costs, decrease stresses applied to creeks, and enhance urban liveability.”
“Local governments can protect watershed health by means of a ‘design with nature’ approach. This uses more natural features and functions, rather than hard man-made systems, to ‘green’ infrastructure practices. Through a watershed-based plan, local governments can strategically connect the dots between land use planning, development, watershed health AND asset management. And by ‘designing with nature’, local governments could make a very strong case for a ‘sustainable drainage system’, at a lower life-cycle cost,” conclude the authors.
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Reprinted with permission from Construction Business magazine.