The Benefits of Formalised Condition Assessment Programmes for Water Utilities Based on Lessons Learned

Robert Blakemore (Wellington Water), Steven Apeldoorn (ProjectMax Limited)

Understanding the health and performance of your assets is fundamental to effective planning for the management and renewal of the assets. It is also a significant challenge. Monitoring and inspecting assets is expensive and proactive condition assessment programmes are funded through limited OPEX budgets. With typically only a small amount of existing information on the condition of their assets, water utilities must face the questions of where the priorities for renewal of their assets are and what is the confidence in the available data for this prioritisation?

The funding available for condition assessment programmes, in general, is far smaller than the level of funding that is needed to fully understand asset condition. With limited funding it is essential that a risk-based approach is adopted, starting with the inspection and condition assessment of the Very High Criticality Assets, (VHCA) as a priority. The outcomes from these inspections provide several benefits including improved assurance that the expenditure directed to renewals and maintenance programmes is going to the right place at the right time. Even if capital budgets are not sufficient to quickly deal to all the poor condition assets, the information is improving the understanding of the risks faced by the utility and they are able to put in place contingency plans should assets fail. The knowledge gained from the assessment programme can be used for developing a better optimised future assessment programme that is targeted to where there are key data gaps.

This paper will set out the benefits for utilities of a formalised condition assessment programme based on the lessons learned from planning and implementing a large scale VHCA Condition Assessment Project in New Zealand. The discussion will include :
• Why condition assessment is an essential major toolbox item
• The processes and strategies implemented and adapted over the life of the programme as funding availability and priorities changed
• Insights such as the importance of detailed planning of the inspection programme
• The early establishment of relationships within the project team and technology providers.


576 KB
02 Nov 2022

1600 Steve Apeldoorn WNZ Conference_presentationOctober2022.pptx

5 MB
09 Nov 2022