All Water and Wastewater Works in the world, both in “rich” (“developed”) and in “none rich” (“developing”) countries, manage their assets, often “automatically” using a not specified methodology for Asset Management (AM), when using / operating / maintaining their systems. But many of the system operators do not have a “strategy” to “manage” their assets: only few operate and maintain “strategically” according to Strategic Asset Management (SAM), tailor-made for their specific water supply and / or wastewater systems.
It is obvious that for the sustainability / the cost optimization / the efficiency of the assets of water supply and wastewater systems - and the utility as a whole - a clearly specified SAM is of highest importance. Whilst for Benchmarking and Assessment of the Quality of the provided Services worldwide activities - among the utilities / operations / their associations / politicians / funding and financing organisations / NGOs - are “well accepted” / “requested” / “preconditions for contracting”, in many countries in the world, the principles of AM/SAM are not so well-known and seldom “established” / “requested” / “ institutionalized”.
The research needs for Strategic Asset Management (SAM) of Water Supply and Wastewater Disposal Systems were identified during the development of international standards (ISO) and European guidelines for the management of the relevant services, for the use of Performance Indicators (PIs) and for Benchmarking.
The research results will have great value in the context of both global approaches and institutional and organizational aspects for the utilities / operators / financing institutions of water supply and wastewater systems and - finally - for the users / customers. Therefore, many research institutions are already orientating their efforts from developing and specifying “Benchmarking” towards “SAM” with much greater activity then it was previously in evidence.
The main “dominant” schools for AM/SAM are from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA, but also in Europe (e.g. Austria, Germany, Norway, Portugal, The Netherlands, UK) several initiatives started in the direction of developing guidance for AM/SAM, for several infrastructure systems, not only for water supply and wastewater disposal.