BMPs maximize efficiency and cost-effectiveness

A 2004 Water Conservation Survey conducted by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the BCWWA’s Water Sustainability Committee shows that while a significant number of utilities are considering implementing best management practices (BMPs), few are actually using them. The most commonly used BMP—establishing a metering plan to account for water use and losses—has been adopted by just under one in three utilities, although it is being considered by another 44 percent. Other BMPs being used or considered include developing a water distribution system renewal plan (30 percent are using one, 41 percent are considering using one), water conservation (27 percent, 49 percent), and cross-connection control (27 percent, 39 percent).

BMPs are industry-accepted procedures used by proactive organizations to maximize the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of specific initiatives. While best practice methodologies are used by vastly different organizations for a variety of purposes, they have one thing in common—they emphasize “practice” rather than “theory.” Ironically, recommended best practices may no actually be the “best,” but rather “proven” or “working.” And best practices are always changing as new and better ways of doing things are introduced.

BMPs as they apply to municipal infrastructure, are defined in the National Guide to Sustainable Infrastructure as “best methods and technologies for infrastructure planning, design, construction, management, assessment, maintenance, and rehabilitation that consider local economic, environmental and social factors.” The guide—a collaborative effort between the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the National Research Council—provides decision-making and investment-planning tools and a compendium of technical best practices. (Visit

Made-in-BC-for-BC BMPs are also available to help guide water utilities through the complex maze of water management decisions. Prepared by the BCWWA for the Ministry of Health, these best practices are intended to help health officials and water suppliers alike meet provincial goals while encouraging innovation to support sustainable municipal infrastructure decisions and actions. (Visit