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Posted August 20 2018
Written by Laura Lee

Making a Positive Environmental Impact with Municipal Asset Management

In 2015, 195 countries agreed to a universal, legally binding global climate deal – otherwise known as The Paris Agreement – where each nation sets emission reduction targets. So what does that mean for municipalities? In order to contribute to national emission reduction targets, cities need to do their part by ramping up efforts to reduce emissions and building more resilient infrastructure. In other words, it’s time to start designing smarter cities.

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When it comes to managing and maintaining urban infrastructure, the challenges faced are often similar from one city to the next, yet the approaches to addressing those issues can differ dramatically due to factors like a municipality’s size, location, financial health, age of infrastructure and more. Three common challenges are outlined below.

Municipal Asset Management

1. Growing pressure from citizens

Public pressure for more, better, faster and cheaper services – including social, health, educational and safety – is on the rise. With taxes increasing, people are far less tolerant of problems like garbage collection interruptions, sewer backups and poor road conditions that cause inconvenience, property damage, and may even pose a danger to their personal health and safety.

2. Asset life expectancy

Municipal assets are built to function efficiently for many years, but a number of factors may interfere with achieving maximum life expectancy:

  • Financial constraints
  • Lack of knowledgeable technical resources
  • Incomplete asset data for optimal maintenance
  • Changing political agendas

Some of Canada’s oldest assets were built in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and are now past their prime.

3. Compromised water assets

For water and wastewater assets, the number of potential threats is quite extensive, including:

  • Hydrogen sulphide gas corrosion
  • Intruding tree roots
  • Illegal sewage connections
  • Insoluble wet wipes
  • Stray underground electric currents

Each one poses a distinct hazard to the structural integrity of underground water systems. To mitigate the risk of critical failure, the entire water system asset network requires a proactive approach and continuous monitoring.

Smarter technology for planet-friendly cities

Municipalities can leverage a mix of technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) enabled data collection devices, sensors, metering systems, and intelligent data treatment tools to make smarter decisions about infrastructure operations, management and maintenance that will extend asset life expectancy and save money.

Increase efficiency, maximize resources

From repairing water systems to maintaining traffic lights and optimizing garbage truck routes, many city services can be improved with intelligent asset management strategies.

  • Reduce response and resolution times from days to hours, and hours to minute
  • Deploy workers only when necessary; let technology perform routine maintenance checks
  • Eliminate unnecessary costs; redeploy finances to more essential areas

Gain actionable insights and greater control

Integrated systems and usage data provide a centralized view and clear visibility into asset and infrastructure inefficiencies so that action can be taken to achieve peak resource optimization. And that means greater environmental efficiencies. For example, by optimizing heating, cooling and electrical resources, a reduction in energy consumption and costs will be realized.

What Canadian municipalities are doing now

Many Canadian cities have announced ambitious asset management programs in 2018 to achieve a more efficient, transparent, and accurate means of maintenance, renewal, and replacement of infrastructure assets. With proactive condition assessments taking place this year, these cities will be in a much better position to optimize both short-term and long-term capital spending while realizing tangible capital budget savings. In some already-smart urban environments, engineering infrastructures have been retrofitted with embedded technology and IoT connectivity. This enables real-time monitoring and predictive, adaptable allocation of city resources.

What your city can do now

Whether your municipality is starting small by upgrading a few services or planning a total digital transformation, you need a trusted partner to provide IoT-enabled smart solutions to optimize your assets, increase productivity, and save time and money. And of course, contribute to achieving national emission reduction targets.

Contact us now to discuss or schedule a 30-minute meeting for an assessment.

Read this report about complex decision-making process for maintenance of aging infrastructure
Municipal Maintenance and Infrastructure Asset Management Systems
2016 Comparative Review
By: Water Finance Research Foundation
http://www.waterfinancerf.org/studies-and-reports.html

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