Asset management is a tool used by public water supplies to ensure infrastructure is adequately maintained and operated to meet customer service expectations and drinking water regulations. Asset management is also used to determine the optimal time to repair or replace aging infrastructure and provide a financial plan to cover these costs. With an adequate active asset management plan in place public water supplies can improve service and reliability, reduce risk and unexpected costs, and create financial transparency to support decisions.
Asset management is implemented through an asset management program that includes an asset management plan. The Illinois EPA encourages all public water supplies to develop an asset management plan. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and Environmental Finance Center have developed asset management framework, which consists of five core questions, to guide public water supplies through the process of developing an asset management plan. Addressing each of the below five core questions in an asset management plan is key to ensure asset management best practices:
- What is the current state of the utility’s assets?
- What is the utility’s required sustainable level-of-service?
- Which assets are critical to sustained performance?
- What is the utility’s best minimum life-cycle cost capital improvement plan and operation and maintenance strategy?
- What is the utility’s best long-term financing strategy?
The resources below can be referenced to better understand asset management and be used to help develop an asset management plan.
Asset Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems STEP Guide Series - This guide presents basic concepts of asset management and provides the tools to develop an asset management plan for owners and operators of small community water systems.
Asset Management: A Best Practices Guide - This guide will help you understand what asset management means, the benefits of asset management, asset management best practices and how to implement an asset management program.
Asset Management for Local Officials - This fact sheet will explain the basics of asset management to local officials.
Taking Stock of Your Water System A Simple Asset Inventory for Very Small Drinking Water Systems - This guide will help very small water systems, such as manufactured home communities and home owner associations, assess their condition by preparing a simple asset inventory.
Building an Asset Management Team - This fact sheet discusses how to form a team to help your water system successfully implement an asset management program.
Further information on asset management can be found at the Asset Management Switchboard created by Southwest Environmental Center and at the USEPA’s webpage called Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems