Zbigniew Grabowski

    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The benefit of assigning worth to a stream corridor as an asset is that it leads to consideration of efforts needed to maintain that asset. To borrow a framework from the financial world, a Maintenance and Management (M&M) budget needs to be assigned to keep up the performance of ecological services beyond the natural asset’s initial ‘capital’ costs,” stated Ray Rung, retired Director of Engineering (March 2022)

    “Formal responsibility for the services that stream corridors provide, as equivalents to engineered assets, mostly lies with local government. EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, puts M&M of stream corridors and wetlands on an equal footing with say, pipes and pumps. The methodology and metrics recognize the importance of the stream in the landscape. EAP supports local governments that intend to include stream systems in asset management calculations. Through EAP, local governments have a guiding philosophy, methodology and metrics to make a financial case for stream systems,” stated Ray Fung.

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Different local governments will always be at different points and different levels of maturity along the asset management continuum. This is why we focus on outcomes and do not prescribe what to do in BC,” stated Glen Brown, Asset Management BC Chair, in 2015 when he unveiled the branding image that conceptualizes what the journey by a local government would look like to achieve Sustainable Service Delivery for Watershed Systems

    “We framed the Asset Management Continuum as a series of three steps, recognizing that most local governments were at Ground Zero in 2015. 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. We needed a way to illustrate this diagrammatically. This led us to the concept of a continuum,” stated Glen Brown.

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “In the process of analyzing the 122 plans, we uncovered this grain of systems thinking within green infrastructure planning. It is like a crystal within a larger chaotic mix of planning ideas, an idea allowing us to integrate many different kinds of infrastructure systems,” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, lead author of a nationwide analysis of GI plans from 20 American cities (February 2022)

    Dr. Grabowski’s “grain of systems thinking” epiphany is the point of departure that allows the Partnership for Water Sustainability to connect the dots to a green infrastructure milestone in 2005 when BC’s Green Infrastructure Partnership developed the “Design With Nature framework” for a whole-system approach that integrates across infrastructure systems. A conversation with Dr. Graboswki revealed that the state-of-the-art in the United States is now close to where British Columbia was in 2005. In the meantime, BC has continued to progress and evolve the systems approach.

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