Getting the Most from Infrastructure Assets: Ecological Accounting Protocol (Part 2 of 2) (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2016)

Note to Reader:

The February 2016 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter included an article by Tim Pringle, Past-President, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, and Chair of the Ecological Accounting Protocol Project, an initiative of the Partnership. The article introduced the concept for the Ecological Accounting Protocol (EAP) as an asset management tool, and was the first in a 2-part series.  In September 2016, the AMBC Newsletter published the second in the two-part series. The current article outlines how the EAP would work. 

Ecological Accounting: “It would allow Asset Managers and Owners to see a more complete picture of value and future costs,” says Tim Pringle

“The Ecological Accounting Protocol (EAP) is an economic tool to make real the notion of ‘watersheds as infrastructure assets’. Practitioners would use it to determine whether or not drawing services from natural assets for drainage infrastructure makes financial sense. It would enable practitioners to price expenditures or avoided expenditures that occur in such contexts,” explains Tim Pringle.

“It follows that potential capital expenditures for engineered services and those drawn from natural assets could be compared.  Practitioners could determine the optimum balance of these options.  Such design of infrastructure services offers enhanced protection of watershed hydrology (and ecology) as well as lower life-cycle costs for the assets.”

Four Analytical Approaches

“The Ecological Accounting Protocol would support four related analytical approaches to capital expenditure and life cycle costs represented in infrastructure (drainage) services drawn from natural assets. These are Substitution, Cost Avoidance, Environmental (watershed health) Benefits, and Attributed Values,” states Tim Pringle.

A Look Ahead

“It would make sustainable service delivery more robust with the inclusion of the value and costs associated with the use of services from natural assets to supply infrastructure.”

“The EAP would allow Asset Managers and Owners to see a more complete picture of value and future costs, including the funding required for Operating and Maintenance of the components of the system that adapted Natural Assets for infrastructure to save initial capital construction costs.,” concludes Tim Pringle.

To Learn More:

Download Getting the Most from Infrastructure Assets: Ecological Accounting Protocol to read the complete article by Tim Pringle as published in the September 2016 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter.

The graphic below illustrates where the EAP would fit within the provincial framework for Living Water Smart and Building Greener Communities. Application of the EAP would enable local governments to progress along the Asset Management Continuum for Sustainable Service Delivery to achieve “Sustainable Watershed Systems”.