Purpose and Use of This Guide

In the coming years, water and wastewater utilities will need to implement new administrative systems and management tools to allow them to adapt to the increased regulatory requirements and environmental complexities they face. These new tools will allow the utilities to operate on a “business model” for long term sustainability to help address the issues of new and stricter regulatory requirements, growing populations, increased service demands, limited water supplies, a highly variable climate, aging infrastructure, increasing energy costs and limited state and federal funding.

Water and wastewater utility needs in Kansas are extremely large, and the existing state and federal funding sources will only meet a fraction of the need. While there may be some increase in funding, similar to the stimulus funding of 2009, there will be insufficient funding to meet all the needs. Therefore, approaches to reducing the gap between what is needed and what funds are available will need to be developed. In addition, funding agencies want assurance that the investments they make in water and wastewater infrastructure will be adequately managed and maintained to ensure long term sustainability and security. This assurance will require water and wastewater utilities to present evidence that they possess adequate financial, technical, and managerial capacity to provide the service that their customers expect, to maintain the infrastructure necessary to provide that service, and to manage the organization technically and financially throughout the life expectancy of the projects being financed.

This guidebook addresses core issues regarding water and wastewater sustainability. Asset management allows the utility to provide a sustained level of service at the lowest and most appropriate life cycle cost. Water and wastewater utility owners, operators, managers, and board members will find that this guidebook contains useful tools for assessing the current status of their operations and for developing strategic plans for sustainable water and wastewater service.

Providing safe and dependable supplies of drinking water and protecting water quality through adequate wastewater treatment is critical to maintaining economic vitality and quality of life. This guidebook should provide the tools needed by water and wastewater utilities to actively and consistently analyze current operations and future needs in order to develop robust management utilities and well-designed infrastructure to meet these growing challenges.

The written materials in this manual are intended to be used in combination with the video clips. The video clips were taken at facilities across the country that are engaged in Asset Management activities. The NM EFC visited these facilities and filmed operators, managers, or elected officials discussing their Asset Management activities. All of the interviews were unscripted and each person was asked to explain their program in their own words. The video clips supplement the written material by presenting information on how a particular utility completed a task or the lessons they learned or challenges they faced. In addition, they provide advice to others who may be thinking about starting an Asset Management Program. An index of video clips can be found at the end of the guidebook. In addition, the systems and individuals who participated in the filming for this project are listed in Appendix G. All of these individuals have agreed to have their contact information published and all are willing to share their wisdom, experience and resources.

The document is meant to be used in a cyclical manner. You may read the manual through from beginning to end to get the “big picture” of Asset Management. Then you can go back through the various chapters and sections of the manual as you work on that specific topic to re-read the written materials or watch those specific videos. The videos can also be used as training materials for staff, managers, or elected officials to help illustrate activities you wish to undertake or explain a particular topic.