Asset Management Helps Communities Improve System Performance and Optimize Long-Term Funding Strategies

Author: Timothy P. Taber, P.C. BCEE

Essentially, asset management is the optimal selection, maintenance, operation, inspection, and renewal of assets to maintain a desired level of service at the lowest life cycle cost. Asset management helps organizations:

  • Prolong the life of assets and capital investments

  • Improve security and safety and reduce risks due to failed or poorly performing assets

  • Treat all decisions as investment decisions to maximize limited financial resources

  • Make costs transparent to support financial decisions

  • Choose capital projects that meet the system’s true needs

  • Base revenue needs on sound operational decisions

  • Enhance the sustainable use of physical resources

  • Ultimately move to a proactive approach to maintenance and managing assets

An asset management program can inventory select components of a system, or the whole system. Some programs involve specialized software packages, and others utilize a simple spreadsheet to track and value assets. The process typically begins with data collection, conditions assessments, and risk evaluation. The program also takes into account the type and age of the assets, the client’s unique needs, and industry best management practices.

State governments are recognizing the value of Asset Management. The New York Clean Water Revolving Fund, US Rural Development and others award additional points to those applications that include asset management components. In Pennsylvania, the State Assembly has taken up a bill that would require “wastewater systems to develop and implement asset management plans and document progress toward full-cost pricing.” On the federal level, asset management can help you comply with GASB-34 reporting requirements.

B&L can help you select and implement the most appropriate processes and tools and implement best asset management practices for your organiztion.