Green Infrastructure Community-of-Practice is the online home for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, which is an initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability for British Columbia

Note to Reader:

Commencing with a launch announcement by the BC Minister of Environment in 2005, the Green Infrastructure community-of-practice has served an important function as the “online home for green infrastructure” in British Columbia for almost two decades.

Originally created to support the work of the Green Infrastructure Partnership, the community-of-practice now has a dual focus in supporting two interconnected initiatives, that is: EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process; and Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery in BC, which is led by Asset Management BC.  To access the library of stories about EAP, follow the links below.

During the period 2003 through 2010, the Green Infrastructure Partnership (also known by the acronym “GIP”) played a prominent role in leading change and assisting with implementation of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, primarily in the Metro Vancouver region.

After incorporation of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC as a not-for-profit society in 2010, the responsibilities of the GIP were assumed by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. Ray Fung, the last GIP Chair, has carried on as a member of the Partnership’s Leadership Team.

“The Partnership for Water Sustainability is the keeper of the GIP legacy,” stated Paul Ham, a Past-Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership in 2014.

Sustainable Drainage Service Delivery &
the Twin Pillars of Stream System Integrity

In November 2015, release of Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” launched an educational process built around the twin pillars concept. Alignment with Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework, released a year earlier through Asset Management BC, is the context for including asset management in the title.

The educational goal is to encourage local governments to reframe how they look at urbanizing watersheds, and then connect the dots between drainage infrastructure and stream health. What happens on the land does matter to streams. Getting an unfunded liability under control is their incentive for moving from awareness to action.

Memorandum of Understanding: The scope of collaboration between the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia and Asset Management BC is formalized in a memorandum of understanding. This is a success story because it is relationship-based and founded on respect and trust.

The genesis for operationalizing both the Partnership and Asset Management BC in 2010, and for the shared commitment to collaboration, is Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan. Specifically, the mandate for each of the two entities is to implement action items in Living Water Smart.

This involves embracing and committing to Shared Responsibility in order to move ideas and approaches forward through the 4Cs – Communicate, Cooperate, Collaborate, Coordinate.

Why Protect Stream System Integrity

When one thinks about asset management, it is often in the context of municipal infrastructure and how this provides the “water service” or the “sanitary sewer service”, and so on. The Drainage Service is the neglected service, and the cost of neglect grows over time.

The consequence of neglect is an accumulating financial liability to fund creek channel stabilization and riparian corridor restoration in urban and rural settings. Thus, the Partnership  for Water Sustainability mission is to focus attention on this foundational concept:

Drainage infrastructure and the stream system together constitute the municipal Drainage Service.

The urgency of the drainage liability issue spurred the Partnership’s analytical process that linked municipal asset management and stream health as “cause-and-effect”, for better of for worse. The Asset Management Continuum serves as a road map for local governments wishing to move from stopgap remediation to long-term solutions.

Continuum of Steps

“The asset management journey for a local government is a ‘continuum of steps’ (as illustrated below). Step One is embrace the BC Framework. Step Two is implement Sustainable Service Delivery. Step Three is apply the Ecological Accounting Process.” explains Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability.

“There is typically no funding mechanism for stream maintenance and management (M&M) such as for water and sanitary sewer utilities. So, the unfunded liability caused by drainage impacts grows over time. Once the life-cycle approach is standard practice for constructed assets, getting to Step Three would be so much easier!”