The water infrastructure sector can no longer afford to do business as usual, with the American Society of Civil Engineers currently predicting an $84 billion annual capital gap for water infrastructure in the United States. This gap is due to aging systems and greater demands for water coupled with stricter environmental regulations. Adopting an asset management approach offers utilities a way to make better decisions about budgets and investments in assets and run their organizations more effectively.
This SmartMarket Report provides a powerful portrait of water asset management adoption in the United States and Canada. Instead of relying on a utility’s self-definition of an asset management practice, the analysis identifies practitioners based on how many of 14 specific asset management practices defined in the report are currently used by a utility. Thus, the use of water asset management and the comparisons of practitioners and non-practitioners are based on actual activity.
Based on this, we can report that 65% of the respondents are doing four or more water asset management practices, the minimum for designation as an asset management practitioner. However, only 18% of the respondents are doing 10 or more practices, demonstrating that there is a vanguard of leaders in the industry, but that wider adoption still needs to be encouraged for most utilities. The results also demonstrate robust plans for adoption for many of the water asset management practices by 2017. In fact, one of the greatest areas of growth us the development of an asset management policy.
The need to address the poor condition of water infrastructure assets is the main driver for wider industry implementation, selected by 39% as the single most important factor influencing adoption. Increasing fiscal pressures also create the need for better investment and budget decisions, another important driver according to 25%. More data and education are the top strategies identified to increase adoption.
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