Your Asset Management Program
Asset management planning is extremely important for any utility, but it is imperative when investigating a stormwater utility. It provides the utility decision-makers with critical information on capital assets and timing of investments, and it helps to maximize the value of its capital and operations and maintenance funds.
A stormwater-related asset management program would focus primarily on the core components of the local stormwater system, including both gray and green infrastructure. As part of the program, the Asset Management Plan (AMP) documents the utility’s asset management program. The goal of the AMP is to manage these assets in the most cost-effective manner while providing a specific level of service. It is not a static document. It requires annual updating, and should be used to guide local budget decisions, particularly on capital investments in stormwater-related equipment and facilities. By using an AMP as a management tool, localities can efficiently manage stormwater assets to avoid costly crisis management, yielding considerable savings over the long-term.
A stormwater AMP has five main components:
- Inventory—Comprehensive list and mapping of components (e.g., drain pipes, pumps), including an assessment of their age, value, current condition, and replacement cycle.
- Desired level of service—What is the current level of service, does it satisfy local needs, and is a more proactive replacement cycle advisable based on useful life projections? (In this step, the probability and consequence of failure is considered for each asset.)
- Criticality—Assess which assets are most critical to the functionality of the system, and determine what is the probability and consequence of failure?
- Life cycle costing—Total cost of ownership, including frequency/type of maintenance.
- Long term financial planning—Funding required based on the replacement cycle.
The Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act recognizes asset management programs both as an eligible cost for rate setting for a stormwater utility and as a topic in the formal guidance to be issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
See NJDEP’s online AMP guidance for the Water Quality Accountability Act, as well as the Southwestern Environmental Finance Center at the University of New Mexico, one of the nation’s best resources on asset management.
For information on tracking assets see here.