Industry studies in recent years have raised awareness of the magnitude of asset renewal and replacement needs in the water industry, but little comparative work has been done on asset management. To help fill this gap, the AWWA Research Foundation sponsored the study summarized in this article.
Faced by the need to repair and replace aging infrastructure and at the same time build new systems to meet population growth, water utilities must make increasingly complex decisions about where, when, and how to invest their capital improvement dollars. What's more, their decisions must involve a range of stakeholders and win their “buy-in” in order for projects to receive necessary financial and community support.
Technology will transform the water utility workplace—from how utilities manage and use information to how they treat and monitor water. Understanding the nature of these changes and the appropriate use of technology can reduce costs, allow for better and quicker decision-making, and enable better management of increasingly complex information databases.
This article argues that many organizations struggle to maintain a cohesive communication program, despite the existence of a communication plan. The problem often lies in the plan itself.
It's argued that, “The goal of strategic asset management is to achieve service-level targets within defined cost and risk constraints.”
This article explains that, “Water and wastewater utilities, like most organizations, are commonly organized into functional departments that tend to become organizational silos focused on achieving their own individual objectives.”
The author states that, “From a melting pot to a salad bowl, there are many ways to describe the diversity of people that make up any large North American city. In a diverse urban workplace, different types of people can go beyond merely coexisting and, through their diversity, create exciting work environments.”
Utilities have long focused on their physical infrastructures. Today’s management environment warrants growing attention to “human capital.”
Most water utility managers don’t classify public outreach as an integral part of utility management. But, that’s an “unfortunate attitude because experience clearly demonstrates the value of devoting public outreach resources on major issues and projects early on instead of after the fact.”
It has been suggested recently that water and sewage utilities move to “full-cost” accounting as a means of addressing some of the challenges facing them. However, there are disagreements regarding how to implement this concept, and few estimates exist that show the impact of such a change.