Infrastructure Asset Management
ARC is in the process of developing research lines on strategic topics in order to utilize synergies among the ARC members and with partnering universities. Also, these research lines should assist in making connections with utilities and other stakeholders. One of the first research lines to be developed is Infrastructure Asset Management (IAM). To explore opportunities for collaboration and develop the Infrastructure Asset Management research line a workshop was held on November 18 and 19, 2010.
Decision-making in urban water services needs a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration the cost of building, operating, maintaining and disposing of capital assets over their life cycles. Conversely, factors such as improvement of customer level of service, improvement of system reliability, or minimization of negative impacts of the infrastructure malfunctions on the society and on the environment should be incorporated into the investment prioritization process.
As a strategic sector of great social and economic relevance, it is vital that it is managed in a rational and efficient way. Without adequate asset management, it will not be feasible to assure adequate levels of the service in the future, particularly with regard to reliable high quality drinking water supply, use of natural resources and prevention of pollution and flooding of urban environment.
State of the Art
ARC supports an integrated IAM methodology developed for assisting decision-making and asset planning in urban water systems, by providing adequate and effective support tools to urban water utilities. The methodology is based on Plan-Do-Check-Act principles, driven by knowledge on engineering as well as management and information technologies, and is organized around the 3 fundamental planning levels: strategic, tactical and operational.
The approach implies an enterprise-wide change of culture that implies organisational change, critical attention to data and information management, and a clear perception of goals and metrics across the entire organisation.
The ARC approach proposes to support water utilities with an integrated methodological approach and several tools, mostly already available within the R&D consortium. The ARC pool of knowledge, tools and methods will fit together into a structured approach in line with the strategic-tactical-operational asset management levels. The ARC profile will be characterized by a strong ability on goal setting at each level and at combining different views or dimensions, including performance, risk and cost.
Added value of ARC
The ARC partners have had an instrumental presence in the consortia responsible for some of the key R&D projects in the field of asset management for urban water services in Europe. In addition to transnational projects, the ARC partners are involved in a number of national and internal projects of note in the scope of ARC and IAM. As result of this intense R&D activity, ARC partners can count on core knowledge and approaches for asset management in applications for urban drinking water and wastewater systems.
The ARC offer to the European water utilities includes the advantages of networking existing partnerships with leading cities such as Oslo, Lisbon, Hamburg, Barcelona and Amsterdam, and on capitalising on user-partner experiences for capacity building and technology/ knowledge transfer. The ARC partners profiles guarantee a wide experience with the water market with a broad variety of institutional contexts, from public to private, from municipal to multi-municipal, from local to regional, from concession contracts to public-private partnerships, from urban conurbations to small mountain villages, from large to very small, single-engineer municipal utilities and have built expertise on handling diverse type of challenges due to different climate, legislative and economic issues and constraints.