Funding aging water infrastructure has consistently been a top concern in recent American Water Works Association (AWWA) State of the Water Industry surveys. New growth water projects are paid at the developer’s expense, but existing water utility customers pay for maintenance, repair, and replacement of existing infrastructure. Water asset management practices and principles provide a great many benefits, including more prudent allocation of limited resources based on asset criticality scoring and condition assessment technologies.
Funding for asset management initiatives can come from a variety of sources including local water revenues, but funding is also available from sources such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The EPA funds asset management in three categories:
- Grants to provide training and technical assistance to water utilities to improve financial and managerial capacity
- Grants to selected universities or colleges and nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance to communities on a range of EPA priorities, including improving financial capacity
- Drinking water SRF grants to states, a portion of which may be used for increasing water utilities’ technical, managerial, and financial capacity
The USDA primarily funds asset management activities through two programs:
- The Water & Waste Disposal Technical Assistance & Training Grants Program, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states for managerial technical assistance
- The Circuit Rider Program, which provides training and technical assistance through contracted staff called circuit riders, 30 in each state to provide technical assistance to small water utilities on daily operational, managerial, and financial issues
In 2019, the EPA and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) provided updates on their asset management activities and the various initiatives states are undertaking involving the promotion of water asset management. The categories of initiatives include funding activities, regulatory activities, assistance activities, and internal activities.
Utilities should take advantage of asset management funding to better their water systems with tools like Fracta’s water main pipe condition assessment and Likelihood of Failure predictive analysis which can be funded as part of these asset management planning initiatives.
The following reports can be used to see if your state provides asset management planning assistance: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-03/documents/asset_management_initiatives_document_508.pdf
Contact Fracta to learn more and secure your funding today!