Improved Asset Management Benefits Customers

LSBUD exhibited at WWT’s recent water industry asset management conference where readiness for PR19, asset resilience and long term planning were the key themes of the day.

Bristol Water’s Director of Asset Strategy, Keith Hutton, set the tone for the morning by powerfully stating that “improved asset management benefits customers”. This theme was further developed by Aecom’s Adrian Rees (Director of Asset Management) who explained how “demonstrating and understanding of wider costs has always been central to good asset management planning”.

South West Water’s Director of Asset Management, Mark Worsfold, outlined the regulatory context by discussing Ofwat’s new duties in assessing asset resilience. The Water Act of 2014 has added a new duty to Ofwat’s remit: “To ‘further’ the resilience objective (in England and Wales)” In Ofwat’s words this means that “Customers want confidence that clean, safe drinking water will be reliably available and that they can rely on their wastewater being taken away”.

Scottish Water, represented by Water Strategy Manager Andrew Dunbar, illustrated this during an excellent talk which explained their use of the ‘four r’s’: resistance, reliability, redundancy and response / recovery in modelling how outages might unfold; assessing ‘hazard chains’ and ‘event chains’. This was highlighted by an excellent case study on the Abergeldie Bridge failure at the beginning of 2016.

For LSBUD’s part, this event was extremely worthwhile as it reassuringly highlighted our pivotal role in the protection of assets. One of the first steps to improving asset resilience is to reduce the risk of them being damaged during excavation works. This can be achieved by ensuring that asset locations are readily available and visible to those who may be working in their vicinity and provided very quickly. Combining searches for water assets with the other utilities will further help to secure both the safety of the workforce and the protection of the asset. Northumbrian Water and Essex and Suffolk Water are already doing this and enjoying the significant rise in asset searches that membership of LSBUD brings.

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