Story #4 in the ISMP Course Correction Series: Move to a Levels-of-Protection Approach to Sustainable Service Delivery

Note to Readers:

This article is an extract from the fourth installment in a 5-part series that is designed to inform local governments and others about the paradigm-shift to landscape-based ‘RAINwater’ from pipe-and-convey ‘STORMwater’, and what this means for Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs). Story #4:

  • introduces the ‘infrastructure deficit’ as a driver for the ‘course correction’,
  • connects the dots to the Green Communities Initiative,
  • views the Levels-of-Service concept through the land use planning and environmental lenses, and
  • provides three examples to illustrate how local government leaders are moving forward with Sustainable Service Delivery.  

To download a PDF version of the complete Story #4, click on Integrated Rainwater Management Planning: Move to a Levels-of-Protection Approach to Sustainable Service Delivery


Sustainable Service Delivery Context for ‘ISMP Course Correction’

The first three installments in the series established the context for embracing a ‘regional team approach’ and making the change to IRMP (Integrated Rainwater Management Plan) from ISMP. Now, the spotlight shifts to Asset Management as a pathway to re-focus on stream health and desired watershed outcomes.

Local Government Infrastructure Deficit

The local government infrastructure deficit is the difference between the cost of maintaining and upgrading existing, local government-owned assets and the amount of capital reserves required for the maintenance and replacement.

Infrastructure assets have a defined service life, and across Canada, local government infrastructure is reaching the end of its service life and requires replacement .  As a local government’s infrastructure assets deteriorate, meeting performance levels becomes more difficult, particularly given the shortage of capital funds for both maintenance and replacement.

Integration of Land Use and Asset Management Planning

The link between asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is emerging as an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery – in particular, water-centric green infrastructure that maintains or restores the natural water balance has value because it also protects aquatic habitat and hence stream health.

So, with respect to rainwater management, an IRMP is a vehicle for local government to strategically connect the dots between land use planning, development standards and asset management.

Level-of-Service Approach

A shift to a ‘Level-of-Service’ approach is a rational way of providing community infrastructure with acceptable levels of service and cost.

“What level does a community wish to provide, and what level can it afford? Everyone will Glen brown (120p) - 2008have to make level-of-service choices. Thus, a guiding principle for an IRMP could be framed this way: Establish the level-of-service that is sustainable to protect watershed health, and then work backwards to determine how to achieve that level of protection,” states Glen Brown, Executive Director with the Local Government Infrastructure and Finance Division, and Deputy Inspector of Municipalities.

The graphic below conceptualizes the mind-map for an IRMP. Watershed Levels-of-Protection is a sub-set of Level-of-Service.

To Learn More:

Local government experience in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island has informed the ‘ISMP course correction’ described in Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia. Readers are encouraged to:

ISMP course correction series - story#4 cover (475p)

Posted December 2010