After Heather made some words of introduction to the webinar, she invited Ross to present the case of the Havelock North water contamination incident.
Thank you, Heather. And just over New Zealand in the last, about a year ago, it was a year ago. We had a very very serious water contamination incident.
Havelock North is a reasonably affluent town in a quite a strong agricultural area, and they had a well that the water was being drawn into. In New Zealand, we had at that time, which is in the process of changing, the concept of what we call the secure supply, which in hindsight was a bit optimistic.
And this particular well through whole set circumstances ended up drawing water into the well from an area that had been contaminated by a sheep. And 5,000 people came down with Campylobacter.
There were around about 3 people died. They were sort of sick or unwell but was sort of secondary-caused type thing. There be roughly a 100 of people still with health conditions as a result of that.
We had ended up with a very very serious high-level government inquiry that’s still ongoing around that. The council or the municipality who managed that water supply is a client of mine. I’ve been helping them with behind the scenes with responses to that.
And the interesting thing from an asset management point of view is asset management develops at three levels:
- We have the strategic asset management just looking at higher-level policy and longer-term planning. They were very good at that, still are.
- You have the intermediate tactical level asset management planning, which is more around asset management plan writing that’s around the condition of assets, and that’s around asset management pipe replacement and rehabilitation. Those sorts of things – and again, they were doing really well with risk management with that space at that time would be as good as anybody in New Zealand for critical assets and replacing pipes and things like that.
- And at the bottom level or the base of the asset management pyramid is operations and maintenance and managing the assets daily.
They had some operational failures or issues I think would be a better way of putting it.
What it showed to me, and why we’ve thought we’d start with it, is you can have excellent asset management plans in place. You can have outstanding long-term strategies in place.
And you can still have an operational failure that really, really hurts you and the quality of water to your community. Be that well as this case or a contamination issue as you’re repairing or whatever it is.
And so, you know, your operations and your maintenance of your system are still really really vital within the overall asset management context, and no amount of good planning will help if you don’t have the right training for your staff or right processes and procedures right down at that field crew level.
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