|Overview:||The IRP is a unique planning approach emphasizing the interconnected nature of the three infrastructure systems, which provides Halifax Water a “road map” for required capital and O&M expenditures for the next thirty years.|
XCG was retained by Halifax Water to lead the preparation of the first municipal utility Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in Nova Scotia. Halifax Water is a publicly owned utility charged with providing water, wastewater and stormwater services to the residents of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Halifax Water embarked on the preparation of an IRP in order to define its overall capital program and other resource needs for the next thirty years (2013 – 2043). The IRP responds to the combined requirements of regional growth, current and future regulatory compliance and asset renewal. The IRP is being prepared at the direction of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB).
The IRP is a unique planning approach emphasizing the interconnected nature of the three infrastructure systems, which provides Halifax Water a “road map” for required capital and O&M expenditures for the next thirty years. The IRP also includes recommendations for integrating the IRP into Halifax Water’s business planning processes linking to federal and provincial regulation, the HRM Regional Plan for growth and new comprehensive infrastructure master and asset renewal plans. The capital and planning programs in the Recommended IRP are designed to meet fourteen objectives and updated Levels of Service (LOS) developed through the IRP.
The major expenditures decisions in the IRP were risk-based. Asset renewal requirements were based on a two-step process that considered the failure impact of a specific infrastructure element (e.g. sewer, watermain, pump station) and the risk of failure based on the current status (e.g. fraction of assets beyond design life) of the infrastructure element. Wastewater compliance expenditures for the upgrade of wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) to meet new federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER) and potential future overflow control requirements were based on an assessment of receiving water environmental and public health risk. Receiving water risk was also used to establish potential future requirements for nutrient reduction in sensitive or limited capacity waters. Growth related risks were assessed through a sensitivity analysis that examined the impact of alternative growth rates on infrastructure capital expansion requirements.
The IRP costs were captured in an innovative financial modelling tool that supported detailed evaluation of actual costs by year and short-term and long-term net present value. Model output presented costs arranged by infrastructure system, IRP driver, cost type (e.g. capital, O&M), IRP objective and year as well as providing summary graphics. The financial model has already provided valuable input to subsequent debt and rate studies.