Summer Course - Asset Management of Water Systems

GainĀ a solid understanding of the principals of asset management and learn to creatively apply asset management to different (water) systems.

For whom?

Students and professionals in the water sector and other related disciplines (e.g. urban planners/architects, agronomists, political scientists, economists, accountants, ecologists).

Course content

Water systems in the developing world are often not equipped to formulate sound maintenance plans, backed by state-of-the-art knowledge and tools. This lack of capacity renders the enormous investments on water infrastructure, mobilized by, among other initiatives, the SDGs, to be unsustainable. Asset management is an essential component in the maintenance and improvement of services in water systems including utilities, irrigation systems and flood protection and water management infrastructure. It requires the identification of most critical components of networks, life-cycle cost analysis and minimizing negative impacts of (inevitable) failures.

This approach is vitally important for the urban centres of the South, as performance demands increasing with population at a phenomenal rate. Often, cities in the South have inherited aging infrastructure systems, incapable of providing minimal level of services. At the same time these cities are faced with unprecedented pressures to provide “more services with less”. This combined challenge calls for systematic approach for maintenance, renewal and expansion decision making. In the urban water sector this applies to water supply/transport & distribution systems, wastewater collection and treatment facilities, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and flood protection infrastructure.

Non-urban water systems like irrigation systems, large-scale flood protection work can also benefit from sound application of asset management principals. Irrigation asset management is already a mature area, while the applications in flood protection are emerging. The rapid future change including climate change, landuse & demographic changes and changes in practices has imposed new and interesting challenges on how asset management principals are applied. Time-tested principals like whole-life cost optimization as well as new innovations like Real ‘in’ Options have a prominent place in asset management in a rapidly changing environment. As a subject water asset management is essentially trans-disciplinary.

While it revolves around the ‘water’ nexus, successful application needs basic understanding of a number of related (e.g. climate & future change, strategic planning, risk-based decision making, risk-assessment and management) and not-so-closely-related (e.g. Data-driven models, databases and economics) disciplines. On the one hand this is challenging, but on the other this provides an ideal platform for a multi-disciplinary course offering that reflects the ‘T-profile’ that we envisage the IHE Delft graduates to have. Further, this nature of the subject renders it a good ‘meeting-point’ among diverse professional disciplines.

Apart from engineering and managers, individuals from many other disciplines (e.g. urban planners/architects, agronomists, political scientists, economists, accountants, ecologists) have successfully followed the two asset management course offerings of the past.

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