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Portland’s water system is a network of reservoirs, pipes, pumps, tanks, valves, meters, and other equipment—each of these assets has its own life span and way of wearing out or failing.
Asset management combines engineering, economics, and business to identify the most cost-effective and efficient way to manage assets, through maintenance, repair, and replacement actions.
The two main elements of asset management are risk and service levels.
The tools of asset management include economic analyses—such as calculating the benefit-cost ratios of actions and the net present value of assets—combined with engineering studies to determine asset status and condition. Benefits and costs of having and operating the water system are calculated in social, environmental, and financial terms—a practice called triple-bottom-line accounting.
Since 2005, the Portland Water Bureau has practiced asset management to improve the way we care for the infrastructure that delivers water to our customers. In 2007, the bureau’s management team signed an Asset Management Charter that set the direction for asset management and the way we do business.
The bureau has become a recognized as a leader in the water industry. An international leader in asset-management benchmarking, the International Water Association/Water Services Association of Australia, regards the Portland Water Bureau as a leader in three key strategic areas:
The bureau’s Asset Management Lead, Jeff Leighton, is the chair of the American Water Works Association Asset Management National Committee. The Water Bureau’s Asset Management Branch has been recognized several times for contributions to asset management in the water industry.
The 2013 Asset Management Planning Overview describes how the bureau has used asset management tools and principles to guide decisions about investing in assets.