Water Asset Management International 1.3 (2005) 5-9
Decentralised wastewater systems: an asset management approach
Simon Fane, Juliet Willetts, Kumudini Abeysuriya, Cynthia Mitchell, Carl Etnier and Scott Johnstone
Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney Australia; and Stone Environmental Inc, Vermont USA
Decentralised systems are increasingly recognised as a permanent part of the wastewater infrastructure, and as such, processes to improve their long term management are now critically needed. Asset management has the potential to fill this gap, however is yet to be applied in the decentralised wastewater sector. This paper presents some initial insights to how the principles of asset management might be translated to the context of decentralised systems. This work was conducted for the NDWRCDP (National Decentralised Wastewater Research and Capacity Development Project) in the United States and forms part of a larger project focused on improving the reliability and life-cycle cost of decentralised systems. We first present a synthesis of the key dimensions of centralised urban water asset management, as useful parallels can be drawn from these. However important differences exist between centralised and decentralised management and we therefore elucidate such differences in some detail. These differences stem from the distinctive characteristics of decentralised wastewater assets and the large spectrum of management, regulatory, and policy scenarios that confront decentralised asset managers. In addition, for decentralised wastewater, we argue that the functions of an asset management system must be interpreted broadly, and facilitate the management of engineering, ecological, public health, and socio-economic risks. Based on these premises, we present the ways in which asset management principles must be modified and adapted to make them appropriate for strategic management of decentralised wastewater assets.
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