A webinar participant asked:
“Small utilities struggle with funding to begin an asset management program. Is there any help for planning and setting up a program?”
I’ll jump in and then I’ll let Ross add. I would say one is the small system project that the EFC network is doing and we do have technical systems that are free – to help you begin your program.
So there are some resources available to water utilities if you would like to start an infrastructure asset management process.
My interest in having Ross really start us off today and talking about simplifying asset management relates very much to this question.
If water utilities can keep asset management as simple as possible, they are able to do a lot of the things themselves rather than having to spend a lot of money to hire somebody to do it for them.
So a lot of what we’ve been working with water utilities now is having them really focus their strategy at least initially on issues that really matter to them.
So maybe you’re having trouble with wells and you need to look at your wells and ask a class and determine what needs to be done, what kind of funding you need to spend, and then what kind of condition they’re in?
You will kind of shrink your asset management program down to that one asset class as an initial starting point. Works through with:
- What kind of condition is that in?
- What kind of operation and maintenance do we need to do?
- What kind of intervention do we need to do?
By that I mean, do we need to do some major repairs or replacements or rehabilitation of your wells.
How much longer we’re going to use our wells? How much money do we need?
And kind of focusing the program in a very simple way to solve a problem that a water utility is having.
And in so doing, you can kind of get used to how the asset management thinking works and have it help you solve a problem in maybe less of an overwhelming kind of way.
Sometimes when you look at your whole utilities, it feels completely overwhelming.
And if you can at least as an initial point maybe look at asset management in terms of a specific asset or specific type of asset, you can get yourself going without having to spend a lot of money or a lot of resources to get started.
And we are working with several utilities now in that mode.
We’re trying to work through some issues and take them maybe one at a time.
And maybe it takes them a couple of years to get the whole plan to cover the whole utility but that’s okay.
And you can kind of build in over time the different pieces of your asset inventory.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Pumphouse by Thomas via Flickr Creative Commons License.