Cost-intensive infrastructures such as drinking water and wastewater systems require carefully considered and target-oriented investment decisions from the management. The basis for this is Asset Management: the systematic inventory and documentation of all components, including a condition assessment and an evaluation of a possible extent of damage. The sustainable management of the water and wastewater infrastructure is thus based on a risk-based maintenance strategy. On the one hand, this is to maintain the most undisturbed operation of the facilities possible, and on the other hand, the limited resources are to used as efficiently as possible.
That is the theory! However, what does this mean in practice? About 25 municipal practitioners from 10 cities in Germany, the Palestinian Territories, Tanzania and Uganda exchanged ideas, developed solutions and project ideas together. They had accepted the invitation of Connective Cities and Hamburg Wasser to the virtual dialogue event, which took place from 30.11. - 02.12.2020.
Starting with an exchange of experiences on good practices and projects in the cities, challenges in implementation were identified and ultimately three project ideas were developed for Songea (Tanzania), Bethlehem (Palestinian Territories) and small and medium utilities in Uganda, which can lead to an improvement in efficiency and organisational framework for asset management.
The starting point for the exchange of experiences and initial discussions were two keynote speeches:
Ingo Hannemann, Technical Managing Director of Hamburg Wasser, presented the components and organisational principles of Hamburg Wasser's Asset Management - supplier for about two million people.
Winifred Nabakiibi, Board Member of ROCKBlue and Director of International Development Services at PRO Utility Limited, shared her experience with small and medium sized utilities in Uganda. The focus was on the challenge of keeping up with rapid urbanisation through grid expansion while maintaining existing infrastructure.
Six project ideas were then presented in two working groups, which formed the starting point for the peer-to-peer consultation on the second day. Both in the morning and in the afternoon, three practitioners each were able to present the challenges in their service area in parallel groups and reflect on the solutions proposed by their colleague.
On the third day, three of these challenges and solution approaches were taken up, transformed into project ideas and supported with a concrete action plan.
In addition, Hamburg Wasser presented a video animation about their procedure in the event of a burst water pipe.
General Overview – Asset Management
Ingo Hannemann, Technischer Geschäftsführer, Hamburg Wasser
Asset Management to optimize water and wastewater infrastructure, an international perspective
Winifred Nabakiibi, ROCKBlue Board Member & Director Institutional Development Services at PRO-UTILITY Limited
OPERATIVE ASSET MANAGEMENT - Best Practice
Linnéa Fölster, Hamburg Wasser
The discussions were both committed and very practice-oriented. With 14 participants from Hamburg, Bremen, Dresden and Cologne, German municipal utilities were very well represented. The international participants came from the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Hebron, Jifna and Bethlehem as well as from Songea (Tanzania) and Uganda.
Solutions were developed to challenges and key issues, including:
"How to create an audit plan for asset management when data is incomplete, made up of different data sets and responsibilities are distributed among different departments (finance, technical)?"
"How to calculate and ensure investments for a growing network?"
"How can smaller utilities be convinced that Asset Management is a valuable and necessary concept?"
"On what basis should investment decisions be prioritised?"
Three project ideas grew out of these consultations, which were concretised in three jointly developed action plans that should facilitate their implementation in the future:
1. The implementation of an effective management system using a GIS system to ensure the quality and documentation of the plant in Songea, Tanzania
2. To increase the organisation's efficiency in reducing water losses (non-revenue water) in Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories
3. Creating a functioning institutional framework (organisational and institutional measures) for the implementation of asset management in Uganda
Connective Cities will continue to support utilities as needed in developing their project ideas to implementation readiness.