SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY FOR WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “The BC Framework points the way to a holistic and integrated approach to asset management. Nature, and the ecosystem services that it provides, are a fundamental and integral part of a community’s infrastructure system,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability

Note to Reader:

The article that follows provides historical context for development of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process. This is an initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability. EAP as an idea was seeded in Beyond the Guidebook 2015: Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”, released by the Partnership in November 2015.

The EAP methodology and metrics make the financial case for maintenance and management of stream systems. EAP supports Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework, released in December 2014, in particular the goal to account for natural systems within asset management strategies.

Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems

During the years 2013 through 2017, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia organized and co-hosted the Water Sustainability Annual Workshop Series through a partnership with the Irrigation Industry Association of BC. In December 2015, the Feast AND Famine Workshop addressed this over-arching question:

What should we expect and what can we do to build “water-resilient communities”? The program comprised four modules that were cascading – from high-level visioning to ground-level applications – and showcased solutions and tools to address risk and build resiliency. Adaptation to a changing climate was a unifying theme.

The “Feast AND Famine” module titled Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems featured UBCM’s Glen Brown in his leadership role as Chair of Asset Management BC. His presentation included the unveiling of a branding image for the Asset Management Continuum. The genesis and evolution of the continuum is the subject of the story that is told in “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems” 

Asset Management Continuum

“Released in December 2014, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework has been a game-changer. It ushered in the dawn of a new era for British Columbia local government in terms of how communities service urbanizing and redeveloping areas,” explained Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“The BC Framework is redefining how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented and maintained. Over the past decade, a ‘new business as usual’ has emerged and extends beyond traditional municipal infrastructure to encompass services that nature provides, including hydrologic integrity and watershed health.”

“The Asset Management Continuum is a branding image which identifies three steps, or defining points, in an incremental process. The image purpose is to illustrate diagrammatically what the journey by a local government to the eventual Sustainable Service Delivery destination for municipal infrastructure and stream systems would look like.”

“The relevance of this way of thinking is that different local governments will always be at different points and different levels of maturity along the Asset Management Continuum. Thus, “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems” traces the evolution of the continuum branding image through three iterations leading up to introduction of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process as Step Three on the continuum in January 2018.”

BRANDING GRAPHIC 3.0:  In 2018. this enhanced version of the original graphic by Glen Brown provided further clarity by spelling out EAP as Step Three

Progress Incrementally Along the Continuum

“In developing the Asset Management Continuum, our operative phrase was ‘as understanding grows’. We saw this as the key consideration for local governments progressing along the continuum. Although it might be possible, we believed it unrealistic to expect anyone to jump directly to Step Three and integrate natural systems into their asset management strategies,” explained Glen Brown.

To Learn More:

To read the complete story published in March 2022, download a PDF copy of “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems”