LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The growing cost of neglect, combined with the urgency of the flood liability issue in particular, is the driver for linking municipal infrastructure asset management and stream health as cause-and-effect,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (January 2023)

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on January 17, 2023 previewed an essay on water sustainability that the Partnership contributed to the Winter 2023 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter.

Local government policy impacts ripple through time

“My over-arching message to those who were elected to municipal councils and regional boards in October 2022 is succinct: Get the water part right in a changing climate, and you will be amazed how other parts of the community resiliency puzzle then fall into place,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability, in an essay published by Asset Management BC in the Winter 2023 edition of their quarterly newsletter.

“A supporting message that drills down from this big picture view is expressed this way: Our land ethic has consequences for water. This means elected representatives need to understand why development practices disconnect the water balance pathways that power stream-ecology. They also need to understand why a water-first approach to green infrastructure can reconnect the two.”

“Land use alters the landscape. That is obvious, right. But there is an elephant in the room. It is the unfunded liability due to neglect of the drainage service. The cost of neglect grows over time. The consequence of neglect is an accumulating financial liability to fund creek channel stabilization and stream corridor revegetation in urban and rural settings.”

THE QUESTION: What would you tell newly elected local government representatives about Sustainable Service Delivery through asset management?

“With this introductory essay, my objective is simply to provide newly elected politicians with a conceptual framework, call it a mind map, that will help start them on their personal journeys of discovery as elected representatives.”

“It is at the local creekshed scale where human actions on the land matter. Council and board decisions can ripple through time to make a difference, over time, to restore the water balance as land redevelops.”

“As they gain an appreciation of the ways in which policy decisions play out, we hope they will keep this thought in the forefront of their thinking, the decisions that councils and boards make today ripple through time, for better or worse.”


To read the complete story published on January 17th 2023, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: A  local government’s infrastructure level-of-service policies ripple through time.