Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009 - (Page 27)

ASSET MANAGEMENT BY STEVE CLARK, USEPA for Small Communities IT IS NO secret that small systems face unique financial and operational challenges in providing drinking water that meets EPA standards. Given their small customer base, many small water systems cannot develop or access the technical, managerial and financial resources needed to comply with the increasing number of EPA regulations and rising customer expectations. As a result, many small systems continue to face day-to-day challenges with utility management. Aside from outside grants and community developments, the need to improve financial management and establish strategic planning continues for many small utilities. CUPSS: A new tool for small systems In order to assist small utility operators and managers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a free, easy to use computer program titled the Check Up Program for Small Systems (CUPSS). This was developed and designed with the help of a workgroup that included representatives from state agencies, technical assistance organizations (NRWA), EPA regional offices and small wastewater and drinking water utilities. With this collaborative approach, we were able to develop a comprehensive application that provides all the basic tools required to implement an asset management program and develop effective asset management planning. The CUPSS software has four main goals to: 1. Assist with communication between the operator and the decision makers; 2. Help move utilities from crisis management to informed decision making; 3. Facilitate more efficient and focused utility operations; and 4. Improve financial management to make the best use of limited resources. CUPSS was designed to help a utility answer five core asset management questions: • What is the current state of our assets? • What level of service do our customers require? • Which assets are critical to sustained performance? • What are our best capital improvement and O&M strategies? • What is our best long-term funding strategy? Software highlights • Customization. Allows first-time users to enter and value the utility component information about their system, as well as the option to add specific personnel, their roles and contact information. It also contains a schematic diagram drawing you create to your systems assets. • Scenario Planning and Forecasting. Enables users to create contingency plans using a variety of external scenarios, as well as forecast the value and life of the utility components. • Tracking and Maintenance. Users are able to input maintenance activities and operational tasks, as well as set up reminders within a calendar format. • Financial Planning. CUPSS enables users to financially track utility operation, utility repairs and equipment rehabilitation. • Reporting. A report wizard guides users in creating a customized asset management plan document for the utility. This has become a necessit y for many small First Quarter 2009 • 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009
From the President
Question & Answer: Water Conservation in the Home
Avoiding the Humpty Dumpty Approach to Data Backup
From the CEO
What the Future Holds
Asset Management for Small Communities
Understanding Your Surface Water Source: The Rivers
Hydraulic Models
Expeditionary Water Packaging System Graces Delta
The Rural Water Rally in April
Training in Hawaii
Regulatory Update
Rural Water Releases Report on Water Infrastructure Projects and Economic Stimulus Legislation
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2009