Best Practices for Integrated Water Infrastructure Asset Management (IWAM): Project Archive

Oct 2020 | Archived Projects, Library, Water Infrastructure

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

The Great Lakes Commission’s Joint Action Plan for Clean Water Infrastructure and Services in the Great Lakes Region (September 2017) profiles regional water infrastructure challenges and proposes a suite of actions to meet them. Among those challenges is a lack of adequate information about water infrastructure assets, which can hinder effective water infrastructure management and investments. Specifically, the Joint Action Plan called for the catalyzation of asset management (AM) activities among individual water utility service providers, and for service providers to consider opportunities to improve operational efficiencies by increasing coordination across traditionally-siloed sectors and regional geographies.

With funding from the Joyce Foundation, the GLC embarked on a year-long effort in 2019 to better understand the barriers, opportunities, and best practices for catalyzing Integrated Water Infrastructure Asset Management (IWAM) in the Great Lakes Basin. While states, provinces, and individual communities vary in their water infrastructure AM policies and practices, there are many examples of communities advancing innovative strategies. The IWAM project gathered information about these strategies and the main barriers to their wider adoption through a series of webinars and focus groups. Through these events, GLC staff engaged over 150 water infrastructure practitioners and AM professionals from across the Basin in guided discussions related to various aspects of IWAM.

The final deliverable of these efforts is the IWAM Phase I Report that summarizes information gleaned from the webinar series and focus groups regarding key barriers and recommended best practices for catalyzing IWAM and provides draft regional goals for protecting and improving the state of water infrastructure and services in the Great Lakes Basin.

IWAM Phase I Summary Report: Best Practices for Integrated Water Asset Management – January 2020
IWAM Webinar Series

This webinar series was recorded between February 28th and May 1st, 2019, and explored the best practices, opportunities, and barriers to catalyzing asset management and IWAM across the Great Lakes region. The four webinars collectively include presentations by 17 different expert panelists about diverse topics related to IWAM. Descriptions and links to recordings of each webinar are available below.

In addition, the Great Lakes Commission hosted three focus groups that brought together 30 professionals in the field of water infrastructure and asset management that took place in Mississauga Ontario (June 26, 2019), Dayton Ohio (June 22, 2019), and Erie, Pennsylvania (July 22, 2019). The ideas shared at these sessions are summarized in the IWAM Phase I Report (coming in November 2019).

Webinar 1: What is Integrated Water Asset Management?

The kick-off webinar of the IWAM series discussed the basic questions of what should be considered a water infrastructure “asset” and what it means to effectively manage them. It also explored primary drivers for asset management and desired outcomes for communities. While traditional (grey) infrastructure is often thought of as the pipes, pumps, and plants that treat and deliver water supplies, this narrow definition leaves out many essential elements of municipal systems. What about natural and engineered green infrastructure features? What about the knowledge, human capacity, and financing required to design and implement a long-term asset management plan? Why does this even matter? Download the recording of this webinar (link above) to learn more.

Webinar 1 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Tim Colling, Michigan Tech
  2. Christine Weigle, Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority
  3. Anna Wolf, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Webinar 2: Water Infrastructure Financing and IWAM

In this webinar a panel of experts shares their perspectives on current financing opportunities for asset management and discusses options for expanding financial support for IWAM. The webinar also explores how asset management can improve and support rate-setting and infrastructure financing.

Webinar 2 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Jay Kessen & Mark Hoskins, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  2. Robert Boos, Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST)
  3. Jeff Hughes, University of North Carolina Environmental Finance Center

Webinar 3: Technology and IWAM

This webinar explores how different types of software and technology can support asset management at different scales, from individual municipal supplies to regional systems, and how technology can be used to support data sharing agreements and coordinated decision-making by drinking, waste, and stormwater system managers. A panel of presenters will discuss how their organizations employ technology to conduct asset management and share ideas for systems looking to further integrate asset management into their work.

Webinar 3 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Bryon Wood & Jody Caldwell, Great Lakes Water Authority 
  2. Heather Himmelberger, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
  3. Steve Rozycki, Macomb County, MI Public Works 

Webinar 4: IWAM Policy and Program Implementation

The final webinar of the series explores how water infrastructure asset management programs are currently being designed and implemented in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. Panelists from these states and province give presentations on their asset management work and address the elements previously discussed throughout this webinar series, including (1) the scope of assets considered within their policies and programs, (2) short and long-term financing considerations, and (3) the technology they currently use or intend on using in the future.

Webinar 4 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Jessica Moy, Michigan Infrastructure Council
  2. Kelly Green, Michigan Water Asset Management Council 
  3. Kelly Karll & Ann Burns, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)
  4. Melissa Osborne, City of Windsor & Canadian Network of Asset Managers (CNAM) 
  5. Susan Schell, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency 

For More Information

Nicole Zacharda
Program Manager
Great Lakes Commission