Properly thought out asset management plan is key, says ex-NI Water boss
Former NI Water chief executive Trevor Haslett has told "embryonic" Irish Water that the key to successful targeted investment is a properly thought out asset management plan because it gives a structure towards where the capital spend is needed.
Writing in the Irish Times, Haslett said: "A simple model to understand the complexity is to assess the performance of the washing machine in your home. How much service is left in it, do you replace it or keep fixing the parts that break such as the pump, is it using too much energy and water, soon to be metered, and what if the EU intervenes in your choice by imposing new regulations or deadlines on replacement?
" Multiply those types of decisions on every water and wastewater asset in Ireland, and you begin to get the picture."
He said the problem with being a water utility in Ireland is the constant comparison "with the more efficient" English, Welsh and Scottish water companies. " Economic regulators enjoy making these comparisons, even though the comparator group have been at it over 22 years and importantly, they are mostly in the private sector – they enjoy governance models that provide flexibility in making quick business decisions, and don’t suffer from competing priorities for funding in the public sector."
This latter area, wrote Haslett, is the Achilles' heel of Irish Water in meeting raised customer expectations once charging is introduced, and improving compliance with EU standards in drinking water and waste water treatment works and collection systems . Failure to meet EU standards attracts infraction proceedings and "potentially eye-watering fines", he said.
"For example, a town with about 30,000 population and a failing waste water treatment works could expect to be fined up to €50,000 per day," he added. "Not so long ago, Northern Ireland had nine out of 13 locations in the UK subject to infraction. Today, with significant investment over a ten-year period, it has none."
- Southern Water selects Getac tablets for the field Getac, which designs and manufacturs rugged computing devices, has signed a deal to supply Southern Water with 380 F110... Read More >
- Complaints to water companies rise Written complaints from customers rose for almost half of the water firms in England and Wales in 2015/16, with some... Read More >
- PwC is Ofwat's delivery partner for price review Ofwat has appointed PwC as delivery partner for its 2014 price review. PwC will provide advice, analysis and assurance... Read More >
- Reliability engineering key to resilience As a result of the 2014 Water Act and Ofwat, water companies are increasingly studying how resilient they might be to... Read More >
- Getting to Grips with... site security The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is classed as ‘severe', and damage or destruction to... Read More >
- Tanks need a spot of TLC Proper maintenance of tanks is key to ensure their long and productive life, while refurbishment can give a new lease of... Read More >
- Fundamental Equations Alec Erskine explores how some key equations can assist with the business of asset management in water Read More >
- Yorkshire Water's decision-making uses ‘five capitals’ approach Yorkshire Water has developed a new decision-making framework for PR19 which quantifies natural and social factors Read More >