AWWA Articles

New AWWA survey measuring progress in asset management practices

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has launched a new online survey of water utilities to help assess and advance the sector’s use of asset management programs.

Utility assetsThe 2020 survey, open now through July 3, will help AWWA’s Asset Management Committee gauge progress, define current business drivers and set future priorities for asset management (AM) programs. The survey contains 30 questions and takes about 30 minutes to complete.

A prior AWWA survey conducted in 2015 found considerable variation in utilities’ understanding and adoption of AM. The results, published in the 2015 report, Establishing the Level of Progress in Utility Asset Management Survey Results, helped target the Association’s development of AM resources, including an online resource page.

Water and wastewater utilities use many models, tools and protocols to guide the creation, management, reliability, repair and replacement of their valuable infrastructure assets. An AM program helps optimize this life-cycle management process through the use of detailed asset inventories, condition assessments, risk evaluations, proactive Heather Himmelbergerand data-informed operation and maintenance tasks, and long-range financial planning.

“We know that within the water sector, management of aging infrastructure and financing for capital improvements are perennially top concerns,” said Heather Himmelberger (pictured left), co-chair of AWWA’s Survey Subcommittee.

“In some states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada, governing agencies are encouraging and regulating specific AM practices,” she added. “AM is a process that can help utilities reduce costs while maintaining or improving service levels and reliability and achieving regulatory compliance.”

Kevin CampanellaKevin Campanella (pictured right), co-chair of the Survey Subcommittee and incoming chair of the Asset Management Committee, noted that AM is a continuous process that involves incorporating additional data into decision-making processes.

“Utilities can start with small and achievable steps that address their greatest opportunities to improve business practices,” he said.

“Those that take the greatest advantage of a growing volume of available data will see the greatest success,” he added. "In the same light, AWWA and the asset management committee can use the data collected from the survey to guide the content provided on the asset management resource page, at webinars, in AWWA Journal articles, and through other AWWA offerings."

The Level of Progress in Utility Asset Management Survey Subcommittee plans to analyze the survey results and publish a report in November 2020.

AWWA’s Board of Directors adopted an asset management policy in 2003 that was most recently revised in 2019.