For a town or city with abundant water supply, utility challenges are not that serious. Its primary concern would probably be the conveyance of water through an efficient utility system and upkeep of service quality.
Cities and provinces experiencing drought over a long period of time are confronted with the serious problem of dwindling water supply. Surely, they are spending a lot to cope with population’s demand.
Whether you are managing a water utility in a locality with abundant or scarce resource, there are practical principles you need to consider in order to operate a system that’s reliable and sustainable. In infrastructure asset management parlance, this is termed as identifying and managing risks.
One principle is to consider the possibility that your source of water is not eternal. Well, you might say that seasons and generations have come and gone and your town’s supply hasn’t dwindled a bit but isn’t it worth considering the eventuality of drought or loss of watersheds?
For example, the levels around your rivers and lakes should be monitored consistently. You might want to create a strategy to meet water supply crisis.
As observed in many places, a cataclysmic event could alter your resource. Thus, weather system changes and tectonic movements should be studied in your area in particular and the region in general. Creating your worst scenario and coming up with strategies to cope with these circumstances are diligent things to work on.
Another consideration is that issues around water aren’t the sole concern of your town or city. It is the concern of a community of towns and cities. They should be discussed and planned in the local, regional and even national levels.
Therefore, there is a need to collaborate and cooperate with adjacent towns and cities. The stakeholders from different sectors of the community should be involved as well.
There is also a need to come up with clever policies and strategies that are intended to cut the risks or challenges in water utility systems. Smart authorities and political leaders would consider working with people who are adept at achieving this in the best way possible.
Search for cities or countries that have pioneered on smart utility infrastructure management and learn from what they have achieved. New Zealand and Australia are some of the countries that have institutionalized asset management in their infrastructure system.
The USA, particularly in program areas of the EPA, like in New Mexico, has continuing and strong management programs for public water systems. Provinces in Canada have keenly practiced asset management program for several years now and even South Korea.