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Water Science & Technology Vol 64 No 11 pp 2199–2206 © IWA Publishing 2011 doi:10.2166/wst.2011.789

A framework for considering externalities in urban water asset management

David Marlow, Leonie Pearson, Darla Hatton MacDonald, Stuart Whitten and Stewart Burn

CSIRO Land and Water, PO Box 56, Highett, Victoria 3190, Australia E-mail: david.marlow@csiro.au


Urban communities rely on a complex network of infrastructure assets to connect them to water resources. There is considerable capital investment required to maintain, upgrade and extend this infrastructure. As the remit of a water utility is broader than just financial considerations, infrastructure investment decisions must be made in light of environmental and societal issues. One way of facilitating this is to integrate consideration of externalities into decision making processes. This paper considers the concept of externalities from an asset management perspective. A case study is provided to show the practical implications to a water utility and asset managers. A framework for the inclusion of externalities in asset management decision making is also presented. The potential for application of the framework is highlighted through a brief consideration of its key elements.

Keywords: externalities; risk assessment; sustainability; utility management

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