Water and wastewater infrastructure is expensive. With the introduction of the Build America, Buy American Act for federal funding programs, it will get more expensive. How can the costs be managed and planned for? Asset management helps keep infrastructure in good repair, provides assistance on when to repair/replace, and provides a funding strategy.
Asset management is a process that can help water and wastewater utilities conduct planned maintenance and repair, replace, or upgrade capital assets (pumps, motors, pipes, etc.) on time. This process can also help utilities confirm there is enough money to pay for these necessary repairs. Many utilities use asset management to pursue and achieve sustainable infrastructure. A high-performing asset management program includes detailed asset inventories, operation and maintenance tasks, and long-range financial planning. Asset management is implemented through an asset management program and typically includes a written asset management plan.
What are assets?
Assets are generally large pieces of complicated equipment or infrastructure that can be very expensive. They usually last a long time, so utilities benefit by keeping them in good shape. Infrastructure in this country is aging and failing at an alarming rate. And the reality is we do not even know where it all is! It is important to remember infrastructure is above ground and underground. It is also important to take note of all these assets because they are essential to protecting public health and providing for economic development.
Asset management answers five core questions:
- What is the current state of my assets?
- What is my required “sustainable” level of service?
- Which assets are critical to sustained performance?
- What are my minimum life-cycle costs?
- What is my best long-term funding strategy?
There are many benefits to asset management:
- Prolonged asset life and improved decisions about asset rehabilitation, repair, and replacement
- Rates set based on sound operational and financial planning
- Budgeting focused on critical activities for sustained performance
- Service expectations and regulatory requirements being met
- Improved responses to emergencies
- Improved security and safety of assets
- Reduced overall costs for both operations and capital expenditures
Asset management will help you decide what and when to replace. It is an outline of critical infrastructure and replacement needs. It will also help provide information for funding, especially with the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
How can you procure funding for asset management?
Many programs provide funding for an asset management plan. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) State Revolving Loan Fund program offers grants and loans for asset management plans for water and wastewater infrastructure. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Highway Administration offers grants for transportation asset management plans.