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Integrated Utility Master Planning-“Eyeing the Bottom Line”
Author: Marc Walch, Rishi Immanni, C.B. Flip Mellinger and Michael Burton
Date: 10/12
WEFTEC 2012, New Orleans, LA, Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, 2012

In 2009 Marion County Utilities Department (MCUD) in collaboration with an engineering consulting firm (PBS&J) developed an “Integrated” Water and Wastewater Utility Master Plan. In order to apply Best Business Practices, MCUD decided that using experienced consulting engineers along with the County’s Rate Consultant (Burton & Associates) to assist with development of a Master Plan was the direction to take. This created a public-private partnership that offered the opportunity to combine public agency practices with the experience of the private consulting engineers. This paper will describe the Integrated Master planning process and its significance to utilities. “Integrated” refers to integrating Financial Planning with the Utility Master Planning effort. The Master Plan objectives were developed from the MCUD’s overall goal to facilitate a planned and financially feasible 20-year capital plan for the utility’s service area. Master planning tasks included identifying effective, permitable, environmentally sound and financially feasible alternatives that will serve the long-term needs of MCUD and its customers while serving as a guiding document for the County to manage and implement necessary improvements over the master planning period (through 2030). Accordingly, the consulting engineers developed the Master Plan that was easy to use, update and in essence has become a living document. Figure-1 shows the service area with existing infrastructure. The use of technology in master planning had come a long way, by integrating GIS, utilizing computer models for hydraulic modeling and finally integrating financial planning models as part of the comprehensive master planning process. The integration of data in ArcGIS, hydraulic models in Info Water, financial models in FAMS-XL© has provided a platform to enhance historical master planning methodology to the next level – “Eyeing the Bottom Line” The resulting Integrated Master Plan produced a Capital Improvement Plan that identified all available and implementable funding sources.