Asset Management Vs. Managing Assets

When you think about your facility – be it water, wastewater, stormwater, or any other set of assets – are your assets managing you, are you managing your assets or are you practicing asset management? The distinctions between the latter two ideas may not seem all that important, but these differences are quite important to achieving your goals.

In the beginning, before you learn about asset management at all, you may be letting your assets manage you. What I mean by that is that you wait until something happens and then react to it. You do maintenance only when you notice a problem or only according to the manufacturer’s recommendation or based on “it’s the way we always do it.” You do not plan for asset replacement proactively and have no shared vision or strategic direction with regards to your assets. The assets just do what they do until they don’t. You replace them when they no longer work the way you want them to. This is a very unsatisfying way of running your facility and, although it may not initially seem like it, a very costly way. Customers are unlikely to be satisfied with the performance and employees will have very unstructured, unplanned days as they react to each failure. Overtime pay may be quite high and financial resources are unlikely to keep pace with the needs.

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Water Utility Mapping Academy

*Written by Teresa Gomez. 

This past spring the SWEFC organized a pilot initiative designed to encourage undergraduate students at the University of New Mexico to explore careers in the water industry. The collaborative initiative with STEM University led to the six week long Water Utility Mapping Academy. Over the course of the Academy, Teresa Gomez, James Markham and Mark Ogrentz introduced students to water system components and taught them the basics of GIS data collection and mapping. The EFC’s goal was to sufficiently prepare students so that they could create water utility maps for small water systems around New Mexico over the course of the summer.

Below is a summary of the curriculum and activities our students completed over the course of the Academy.

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