Report: Asset Management Programs in Use, Savings Not Seen Yet
On Sept. 27, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a national
survey that examines the status of asset management programs in water
and sewer services in major cities. The report was released at the
Mayor's Annual Water Summit in San Francisco and shows how cities use
asset management programs, which offer cost-efficient ways to acquire,
operate, maintain and rehabilitate water and sewer systems.
Some of the survey's major findings are:
- Roughly 75 percent of drinking water and wastewater
treatment plants employ comprehensive or partial asset management
- More than 90 percent of cities have conducted full or partial
inventories and condition assessments of their water and sewer pipes,
and more than 70 percent have implemented a full or partial asset
management program for their water and sewer pipes.
- Water main breaks continue to be a major concern, and repair and replacement cycles can exceed 100 years.
- Most cities support using asset management programs but are opposed
to a congressional mandate that would make it a prerequisite to receive
federal financial assistance.
- Some cities are achieving capital cost and operating cost savings
from implementation of asset management programs, but 50 percent to 60
percent expect to achieve savings in the future.
While providing water and sewer services are considered a
"government enterprise" the federal government share is minimal,
according to the group. The federal government spends about 1 percent
for water and 5 percent in wastewater services, while local governments
are responsible for more than 95 percent of all investment in water and
sewer services and infrastructure in the United States.
In 2005, local governments spent $82 billion on public water and
sewer services. Overall spending was greater than $841 billion from
1991 to 2005. The U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that local
government spending for water and sewer services will increase to $110
billion annually by 2010. This figure does not include added climate
change impact on water resources that are certain, but yet unknown.
With water and sewer rates continuing to increase to meet the rising
costs of maintenance and improvements, cities are finding it harder and
harder to keep pace.