Watermark magazine article initiates branding of "Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems"
Note to Reader:
Local governments in BC are challenged with the question of how best to move forward with asset management and protection of watershed health in light of two considerations: a changing climate; and community expectations to provide higher levels-of-service at reduced levels-of-cost.
The Summer 2015 issue of Watermark Magazine (published by the BC Water & Waste Association) includes an article that describes how the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC is championing “asset management for sustainable service delivery”, with a particular emphasis on Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems.
Supporting the Vision for Integration of Natural Systems Thinking into “The BC Framework”
Released in December 2014, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework is a game-changer. It signifies the dawn of a new era for British Columbia local government in terms of how communities service urbanizing and redeveloping areas, and define how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented, and maintained.
Natural Systems Thinking
A ‘new business as usual’ is emerging and extends beyond traditional municipal infrastructure to encompass services that nature provides, including hydrologic integrity and watershed health.
The article in Watermark magazine explains the BC Framework, introduces the ‘asset management continuum’ and foreshadows how the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI) will integrate ‘natural systems thinking’ into the BC Framework – to protect watershed health, restore hydrologic integrity and tackle the ‘unfunded infrastructure liability’ that is the unwanted legacy of historical ‘stormwater management.’
“The invitation from the BC Water & Waste Association to write an article about the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (IREI) provided us with an early opportunity to initiate the branding of Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems,” explains Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. The Partnership functions as the IREI secretariat and Kim Stephens is the program leader.
Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative
In March-April 2015, the Boards of five regional districts passed resolutions of commitment to IREI program implementation through 2017. The five regional districts represent 75% of BC’s population.
Starting in 2016, the next phase of the IREI will demonstrate how local governments can progress along the ‘asset management continuum’ to incorporate Sustainable Service Delivery for watershed systems.
“By 2017, an over-arching IREI program goal is that local governments in the five participating regions would truly understand how natural systems support municipal services and would be able to fully integrate this understanding and associated methodologies into programs, planning and funding,” states Kim Stephens.
BC Framework & Focus on Outcomes
“UBCM, in partnership with Asset Management BC and the Province, developed the BC Framework. It fulfills the requirement of the Gas Tax Agreement, and also serves as a stand-alone document that sets strategic direction for asset management and its implementation in BC,” explains Glen Brown, article co-author He is the General Manager (Victoria Operations), Union of BC Municipalities.
With Wally Wells, also an article co-author, Glen Brown facilitated establishment of Asset Management BC and led the development of Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework
The BC Framework focuses on desired outcomes rather than prescribing specific methodologies, thereby allowing local governments to develop and implement an approach that can be measured and incremental, tailored to the individual needs and capacities of individual local governments.
Natural Services & Asset Management Continuum
“Asset management is a continuous process, not a discrete task. Too much emphasis is too often placed on the ‘Asset Management Plan.’ The PLAN is only a part of the overall process,” continues Wally Wells, Executive Director of Asset Management BC.
“The asset management process is a continuum. The process starts with the engineered assets that local governments provide. Communities will progress along the continuum incrementally as their understanding grows. By also accounting for and integrating the services that nature provides, over time they can achieve the goal of Sustainable Service Delivery for watershed systems.”
To Learn More:
To download and read the complete article, click on Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: Supporting the Vision for Integration of Natural Systems Thinking into “The BC Framework”