How Does Asset Management Software REALLY Help the Water Industry?

Asset Management Software Illustration

By Lindsey Walker

The water utility sector has undergone a sea change over the past few decades, and many countries have trained water systems to meet specific long-term requirements. Despite the extensive planning and development that has gone into water distribution and wastewater management systems, however, the industry faces a wide range of challenges today.

Along with evolving demands, climate change and other problems, the aging infrastructure of water systems is one of the most critical issues presently faced by water industry managers. Internationally, this particular challenge has been tackled with the aid of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and asset management techniques.

What is Asset Management?

Physical assets such as pipes, valves, pumps, wells, tanks, hydrants and treatment facilities tend to deteriorate over time, adding to the cost of operation and maintenance in a water or wastewater utility, while also losing value as they age.

In addition to the monetary loss from this depreciation, it may also become more difficult for utility operators to maintain a high level of service and meet customers’ expectations. Disruptions in water supply or wastewater management may have a significant impact on the local community and environment, as well.

Asset management is an approach to managing strategic assets in terms of their performance, and this technique can be used to make better decisions about aging assets in the utility sector.

Components of Asset Management

The five core components of asset management are:

  1. Asset Inventory
  2. Level of Service
  3. Critical Assets
  4. Lifecycle Costing
  5. Long-Term Funding

Why Does the Water Industry Need Asset Management?

The main aim of asset management in the water utility sector is to achieve long-term sustainability for water cycle systems and deliver consistent service in a cost-efficient manner.

In addition to helping utility managers make better decisions about repairing, replacing or rehabilitating aging assets, it can also help them develop an effective strategy for long-term funding. And, with modern utility maintenance software, the process of planning and implementing an asset management strategy becomes more streamlined.

Benefits of Asset Management

Asset management offers a wide range of benefits for the water and wastewater sectors, such as:

  • Allowing water industry managers to make better operational decisions for long-term sustainability.
  • Improving uptime in water utility systems with faster and more efficient emergency response.
  • Allowing utility industry managers to plan and pay for repairs and replacements more effectively.
  • Offering a detailed insight about asset inventory, location and operational importance for the utility.
  • Boosting operational efficiency and communication, both within the system and outside (with customers).
  • Prolonging the operational lifespan of assets with preventive service, maintenance and workload allocation.
  • Paving the way for capital improvement prioritization projects that meet the system’s actual requirements.

The main aim of asset management in the water utility sector is to achieve long-term sustainability for water cycle systems.

How Does Asset Management Software Help?

With preventive maintenance software for water, wastewater and stormwater utilities, providers can speed up the adoption of an asset management strategy as well as make it more successful. These systems are designed to help utilities meet their asset management goals, including:

  • Lifecycle planning and management
  • Organization of unique asset hierarchies
  • Seamless integration with GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
  • Strict regulatory compliance
  • Infrastructure condition assessment
  • Inspection schedule for predictive maintenance
  • Timely corrective maintenance and repair
  • Effective risk management
  • Adherence to stringent industry regulations
  • Creation and management of work orders and schedules
  • Integration with external websites for utility systems
  • Development and monitoring for levels of service
  • Mobile CMMS features for user convenience
  • Funding forecast and capital prioritization

Adoption of Proper Asset Management Practices is Crucial

A well-planned asset management strategy allows water utilities to prioritize long-term needs over immediate wants. This results in operational improvements that help them achieve better sustainability in the long run, as well as greater ease in explaining or defending budgets for capital projects to governing bodies.

The right asset management policy and practices, combined with state-of-the-art utility maintenance software, water industry managers can ensure they make data-driven investments at the right time. Doing so helps with the maintenance of assets and minimizing minimize future repair, replacement and rehabilitation costs as well.

For an asset management policy to be truly effective, it must be implemented across the board. This is a core business principle that cannot be applied to specific departments or organizational activities, or be treated as a separate activity. Instead, it should form the backbone of the entire water, rainwater, watershed or wastewater management system.

CMMS solutions can help improve communication and coordination between departments, to ensure that asset management practices are followed in every area of the business.

Lindsey Walker is marketing manager at NEXGEN Asset Management. With a B.S in Business Information Management, she excels at business development, project management and asset management. Her passion for writing allows her to share her knowledge on asset management, geographic information systems (GIS), software implementation, training curriculum development and similar topics.

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