Municipal Water Leader
  • Flipbook

    Volume 6 Issue 10 November December

    How does your water utility manage its assets? With aging infrastructure and limited funds for rehabilitation and replacement, the question is more important every day. In this month’s issue of Municipal Water Leader, we profile some of the water utilities and service providers that are forging new paths in asset management.  In our cover interview, Chris Kahn of American Water introduces us to the high-tech world of asset management using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. American Water’s drones give it eyes in the sky that it can use to examine elevated and difficult-to-reach assets, but they can also be equipped with thermal and multispectral sensors and even ground-penetrating radar, providing…

  • Water Law

    Preserving Federalism in Water Law By Robert S. Lynch

    Everyone involved in western water is keenly aware of the controversy surrounding clarifying the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) in the Clean Water Act regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received over 13,000 comments on its proposal to do so. Many are attacks on the proposal, which, in my view, have to be considered attacks on the concept of federalism. Those who oppose the clarification process the EPA is undertaking are essentially saying that the states are incompetent or unwilling to protect their citizens and the quality of the water they receive and use. It is my understanding that some 49 states have taken delegation…

  • Innovator,  Interview

    How Assura’s Configurable Asset-Management Platform Can Help Water Utilities

    Assura Software is a Christchurch, New Zealand–based technology company that builds highly configurable asset- and case-management solutions. Its products are used by several large irrigation schemes and businesses to manage their assets and record health and safety risks and hazards. Using Assura’s platform in the office on a computer or in the field on a mobile phone app, employees can keep track of what tasks need to be done and the current status of their assets. In this interview, Assura Managing Director Hamish Howard speaks with Municipal Water Leader Editor-in-Chief Kris Polly about Assura’s platform and how it stands to benefit municipal water utilities.

  • Uncategorized

    Irrigation Innovation on Southern Utah University’s Campus By Beth Fillerup

    Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, requires a lot of water to care for its campus. On its 75 acres of mostly NCAA playing fields, 4 man-hours of labor were required every day just to maintain the secondary irrigation system’s filtering system.  Tiger Funk, the university’s assistant vice president for facilities management, says the constant clearing of filters for the secondary watering system, which is tied into Cedar City’s secondary irrigation water system line, was taking a toll. “We had to check the filters every 8 hours, which, over a season, adds up.” And it wasn’t just the frequency—because the irrigation and filter components were housed underground for aesthetic…

  • Interview

    Managing Natural Assets Alongside Engineered Ones

    Asset management is a familiar concept for most local governments and water utility providers, but when they hear the term, almost everyone thinks about wastewater treatment plants, buried pipeline, and pump stations. The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI), a Canadian nonprofit, is aiming to change that. MNAI’s core insight is that natural assets like wetlands, forests, and creeks provide tangible services for municipalities that are similar to those provided by engineered assets like retention ponds and culverts. By inventorying, analyzing, and maintaining their natural assets, local governments and utilities can make intelligent decisions about whether or not to build engineered assets and the wisdom of development that will interfere with…

  • Interview

    Reducing Maintenance Risk and Expenses Through SUEZ’s Asset Management Program

    For small and medium-size municipalities and water utilities, the regular maintenance of assets like water tanks, metering systems, and wells may require significant expenses of time and money—especially when these assets break down earlier than expected. To address this problem, SUEZ North America has begun providing continuous maintenance services to utilities that cover the entire life cycle of an asset. Agencies pay a steady yearly subscription for yearly maintenance plus 100 percent coverage of any unexpected emergency repairs.  In this interview, Jonathan Cato, SUEZ’s senior vice president of lines of business, speaks with Municipal Water Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about how SUEZ’s asset management program can reduce municipalities’ risk…

  • Interview

    The Town of Cary’s Buried Infrastructure Asset Management Plan

    In 2018, the Town of Cary, North Carolina, developed a buried infrastructure asset management plan. The town, which is near Raleigh in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, had relatively new water and wastewater infrastructure and had a variety of ongoing asset management practices, but they were not integrated, transparent, and fully documented. Through a year-long process of general and area-specific meetings, the town developed a plan that included immediate, short-term tasks to be completed and also established regular asset management procedures.  In this interview, Dave Hallgren, Cary’s asset manager, speaks with Municipal Water Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about how the asset management plan was developed and the…

  • Interview

    Black & Veatch: Management for All Stages of the Asset Life Cycle

    Black & Veatch is a global construction and consultancy firm with more than 100 offices worldwide. One of its many services is its asset management practice, which works with clients in the water field, including municipalities, state governments, utilities, and research organizations. Black & Veatch’s asset management services for water agencies include strategy development and implementation, information solutions, and condition assessment. These services cover all stages of asset management, including planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation.  In this interview, Will Williams, associate vice president of Black & Veatch’s water asset management practice, speaks with Municipal Water Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about how the company helps its clients as…

  • Interview

    HDR’s Data-Driven Utility Management Services

    HDR is a major architectural, engineering, and consulting firm that has worked on infrastructure projects around the world, including bridges, highways, parks, hospitals, arenas, and treatment facilities. Perhaps lesser known are its utility management services, which help water and wastewater utilities plan, manage, operate, and fund infrastructure. One of HDR’s key utility management services focuses on performing expert analyses of water and wastewater utilities’ buried pipelines and assets and providing utility-specific, data-driven pipeline renewal and replacement planning. This helps utilities know when to replace and rehabilitate their infrastructure to reduce water main breaks and service disruptions and, ultimately, to save money.  In this interview, Allan Scott, HDR’s lead for utility…

  • Interview

    Asset Management With Drones: American Water’s UAV Program

    Asset management requires precise information about the location and condition of an organization’s assets, as well as the ability to regularly inspect them and update that information. American Water is one company that has started to use drones to do this. American Water’s drones are not only used as eyes in the sky to inspect specific problems in hard-to-reach locations like elevated water storage tanks, but the information they collect is integrated into the company’s internal mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) software. Further, with specialized thermal imaging and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) sensors, American Water’s drones can locate buried assets and rapidly identify damaged solar panels, among other tasks. In…