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Author      Title/Abstract      

Asset Management: A Fad or the Future?
Author: Pervaiz Anwar and Ken Harlow; Kevin Young (Hunter Water, Australia)
Date: 10/04
WEFTEC 2004 Conference

By their nature, U.S. water and wastewater utilities are asset-intensive service providers. Even small or mid-sized utilities can have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in their infrastructure assets. With an increasing awareness of the huge reinvestment needs for fraying infrastructure, tightening budgets, changing accounting requirements (GASB 34), and regulatory pressure (e.g., CMOM), holistic asset management (AM) is gaining increasing acceptance within the U.S. public sector. However, there is significant uneasiness among some utility managers, staff at large, and policy-makers stemming from their experiences with prior improvement initiatives which have failed to yield expected benefits or gain broad organizational support and sustained commitment. Further, the concepts of accountability and measurement, which are central to AM, can be intimidating to some, especially those who must be thoroughly committed for this initiative to succeed. So is asset management “just another fad,” or is it the future of U.S. utilities? This paper, through actual case studies, demonstrates that asset management yields tangible and significant benefits when applied across an entire organization. The paper also distinguishes asset management from some other improvement initiatives undertaken by U.S. utilities over the last several years.

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