On December 9th, 2021 an article published by Tiffany Batac, Kerry Brown, Rita Salgado Brito, Tetsuya Mizutani, and icInfrastructure’s own Iain Cranston was included in the scientific journal Water for a special feature on Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems. The article "An Enabling Environment for Asset Management through Public Policy: The Benefits of Standardization and Application to the water sector" focuses on using public policy to support the usage of effective and sustainable asset management practices.
The team behind the article have been key players in the development of the new ISO 55011 standard, guidance for development and application of public policy to enable asset management. For governments and public policy authorities, good asset management is a key enabler for those seeking to balance investment in immediate needs with
long-term goals to achieve desired societal outcomes, including achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Developing public policy in a way that promotes good asset management is important for governments and their public policy authorities to make the best use of public resources while maximizing social and financial return on investments. Please visit the ISO/TC251 Committee website for more information on ISO 55011.
Water is important for our cities and agriculture, but often the infrastructure that allows us to turn on the taps and have fresh, clean water is hidden away underground. The paper describes this as having a "low social visibility," aiming to answer
the question of how to communicate the importance of water infrastructure to a public that knows very little of what goes into making it run smoothly.
110 people in government positions were surveyed across 20 countries, and the main concerns were those that we hear often in the field of asset management: maintaining balance between funding new infrastructure while maintaining old, collecting good data, and generating a solid understanding of service delivery/infrastructure performance. These survey results prove that figuring out how to properly manage infrastructure assets is an international struggle.
The Canadian case study talks of Canada’s “golden age” of infrastructure, a time of economic prosperity in which infrastructure was built at an incredibly fast rate. Deep in the throws of the high-modernist movement, Canada built large infrastructure projects with little consideration for future spending or maintenance requirements. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) MAMP program is designed to enable Canadian communities to implement proper public asset management policy and retroactively prepare proper maintenance and replacement plans for this now aging infrastructure
The case studies in this paper cover Canada, Japan, and Portugal, all sharing a similar story regarding the introduction to asset management: existing infrastructure was built and allowed to deteriorate leading to severely reduced service quality for citizens. In each of these stories the reduced quality ultimately led to government action to fund asset management processes that will improve public infrastructure and restore service quality. Asset management is simply a response to the realization that the foundations in which we have built our physical society cannot be ignored