Water Infrastructure Asset Management: The 8 "I's" You Need to Know

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September 21, 2020

Water/wastewater infrastructure is aging rapidly in most cities, and the growing population is only increasing the load on the crumbling water systems. This one-two punch has accelerated the infrastructure’s deterioration and forced water/wastewater utility companies to establish a proactive asset management routine. This asset management plan should reduce the likelihood of infrastructure failures and ensure uninterrupted services.

Water infrastructure asset management is the process of understanding what assets make up your water, sewer, or storm system and then proactively planning replacements and repairs on risk-based prioritization. An asset management plan helps avoid failures and streamline the use of strained budgets. A water/wastewater utility should follow this guide that involves 8 “I’s” of asset management to establish such a plan.

1. Infrastructure

A utility must have a database that accounts for every small detail of its assets and their locations. One way to establish this asset-centric data is by establishing a digital register that outlines the entire infrastructure based on networks and hierarchies. It should also classify assets based on dimensions, material, and network connectivity configurations. It is also very important that this digital database is easy to update and share.

See how this North American Utility quickly improved their asset management plans in this featured Water Talks Case Study

2. Inspections

After taking infrastructure into account, your asset management plan should focus on a proactive inspection routine. A utility company must constantly inspect its assets for its structural and service conditions while also considering health and safety concerns.

Here is a checklist of inspections, surveys, and tests that should be part of a proactive inspection routine.

  • CCTV inspections
  • Visual surveys
  • Inflow/infiltration I/I property tests
  • Dye tests
  • Smoke tests
  • Manhole surveys
  • Subsurface mapping and testing

3. Incidents

A utility company needs to know its water/wastewater network‘s current performance. It should know types and modes of asset failure and their effects, e.g., why sanitary water is discolored, how it will affect users, and what consequences the utility company will face from the regulatory end. The company should have an action plan ready in case of pipe breaks due to washouts, combined sewer overflows, debris blockage at intakes, and reduced water quality testing capability. Assessing assets for their relevant KPIs can help you identify their susceptibility to failure.

4. Interventions

Interventions are essential for ensuring your water/wastewater infrastructure operates without any issues. Interventions made by a utility company can include general maintenance, pipe and manhole repairing, valve turning, and hydrant flushing.  Interventions can also entail assessing external and internal linings of pipes and fittings, preventing water hammer phenomenon in bulk supply pipes, or minimizing water retention time by adjusting pump schedules and cutting down the operational water level in reservoirs.

A good intervention plan requires utilities to provide accurate data and information for field crews to make the necessary rectifications efficiently.

5. Investments

Utilities make large long-term investments on assets. They need to use risk-based decision-making to determine long-term funding strategies. Risk-based assessments allow you to balance capital and operating expenses in the long run. Also, justifying investments on big projects to investors becomes easier when they develop from risk assessment.

6. Investors

Today, a utility is assessed by its stakeholders (investors, utility board, public stakeholders, etc.) for a three-layer bottom line. It includes environmental, societal, and business outlooks. A utility that can serve while protecting the environment, ensuring regulation compliance, and avoiding mishaps that affect the public continues to get good support from stakeholders.

7. InfoAsset

A utility can assure service reliability by allocating its capital, operations budget, and maintenance budget in a way that extends the lifecycle of water/wastewater infrastructure assets. Innovyze’s InfoAsset can help utilities improve and streamline their asset management plans. InfoAsset Manager acts as a day-to-day control center for your assets. It helps you process inspection data and asset-centric information.

Learn More About InfoAsset by Innovyze

On the other hand, InfoAsset Planner lets you run risk analysis and prioritize your capital outlay. You can use InfoAsset Planner to establish repair and renewal roadmap for efficient use of assets throughout their lifecycle.

8. Innovyze

This 8-I’s guideline for establishing first-rate water infrastructure and asset management rounds off with Innovyze. Its various software packages allow utility companies to implement the first six “I’s” we have discussed here. For instance, InfoWater Pro lets you model and manages water distribution networks through 2D and 3D visualization and schematic pressure interaction analysis.
A good asset management plan can be devised by taking these 8 I’s into account. If you can manage to incorporate two I’s (Innovyze and InfoAsset) into your planning work, it will become more feasible for you to take care of the provisions of the rest of the I’s.

This software product by Innovyze lets you furnish a digital representation of your complete water/wastewater infrastructure and the natural (geographical) and constructed elements impacting its function and efficiency. Innovyze also enables utilities to improve customer service and reduce OPEX through its InfoWorks WS Pro. This software allows you to carry out hydraulic simulations, streamline demand management, identify leak locations, and model realistic valve and pump flow.

Tags: water infrastructure asset management, asset management