Carrie Tuttle is the director of engineering for the Development Authority of the North Country, New York.
She has a joke about municipal water system maintenance: “No one cares until you turn on your faucet and there is no water.”
She realizes that because most water infrastructure is invisible to the roving eye, underground and forgotten, it makes it a lot harder to spot developing problems.
She notes that municipalities need to regularly assess infrastructure, particularly aging infrastructure, or problems will become unmanageable quickly.
Watertown Daily Times reports:
Part of Ms. Tuttle’s job with DANC is consulting with communities to lay out long-term water investment plans, telling leaders that they cannot wait to take action until a disaster strikes.
Instead of spending a single, sizeable lump sum to fix an emergency, municipalities should be spreading their maintenance costs out over time, she said.
“A lot of that gets back to asset management planning, and then setting rates appropriately so that communities are putting away the right amount of funds in replacement reserves and charging the right amount for their water and their sewer,” Ms. Tuttle said.
It is great to see that the North Country municipalities value infrastructure asset management highly.
Ms. Tuttle is definitely holding up a good example for others to follow.
Inframanage.com observes that by applying infrastructure asset management planning to the management of their water utilities the North Country municipalities are setting themselves up for long-term sustainable service, and an optimal cost of service delivery.
PHOTO CREDIT: Through-Arch Bridge in Canton, NY by Decaseconds via Flickr Creative Commons license.