Asset Management – Overview

Assets are generally the most expensive components that a community can own, operate, maintain and replace. Making the right choice about how to manage a community’s assets is key to being able to sustain the assets over time. One of the best tools to help a community manage its assets is called, Asset Management. It helps answer the questions of what should we do, how should we do it, when should we do it, and where is the best place to make an investment in our assets.

Asset Management is a proven method whose techniques have been refined by the international community, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. It has now been practiced overseas for well over 15 years and has been gaining popularity across the US for the last decade. The Southwest EFC (formerly the NM EFC) began working with Asset Management in 2003. In 2006, at the request of EPA, the SW EFC director traveled to New Zealand and Australia to study Asset Management in order to develop an approach that would work in the US, particularly for smaller sized utilities. Since that time, we have developed training materials, conducted numerous trainings, and have provided one on one asset management assistance for systems from the very small to the very large.

Core Components of Asset Management

  • Asset Inventory
  • Level of Service
  • Critical Asset Assessment
  • Life Cycle Costing
  • Long-term Funding Strategy

Asset Management Has Many Benefits

  • Better operational decisions
  • Improved emergency response
  • Greater ability to plan and pay for future repairs and replacements
  • Increased knowledge of asset location and condition
  • Increased understanding of which assets are critical to the utility
  • More efficient operation
  • Improved customer communication and service
  • Easier rate-setting
  • Rates based on sound information
  • Increased acceptance of rates
  • Better prioritization of capital improvement projects

The Southwest Environmental Finance Center (formerly the New Mexico Environmental Finance Center)  developed the A.M.Kan Work! interactive guide to Asset Management and Energy Efficiency. This  guide was sponsored by the Kansas Department of Public Health and the Environment (KDPHE) who  has generously allowed us to make it available to anyone. It is available in hardcopy form  (which includes DVDs) and just as DVDs at the cost of production. Please contact the Southwest  EFC (see contact us page) if you are interested in obtaining a copy. This Asset Management tool  is the result of two years of extensive research and includes video interviews with eighteen water and wastewater systems across the United States, as well as an international asset  management practitioner. This manual is intended to guide small to medium sized water and  wastewater systems through the process of Asset Management and addresses core issues of water  and wastewater sustainability. Asset Management allows utilities to provide a sustained level  of service at the lowest and most appropriate life cycle cost. Water and wastewater utility  owners, operators, managers, and board members will find that this guidebook contains useful  tools for assessing the current status of their operations and for developing strategic plans  for sustainable water and wastewater service. The manual also introduces the Asset Management  IQ test, a tool for assessing your knowledge and progress in the Asset Management process.  A pdf file of the A.M. IQ can be downloaded or the tool is available in an interactive on-line version.  Please click the link below to access the interactive version or to print the pdf version.  You may also visit our AM IQ web page for additional information.

You can access the Interactive Asset Management IQ test only by clicking HERE

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