SPEAKERS & SESSIONS
Meet the Speaker:
Session: Proactive Planning at the Core of Asset Management: Lessons learned from the water treatment industry
Proactive Planning at the Core of Asset Management: Lessons learned from the water treatment industry
Julie Korak, Ph.D., P.E, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder
Drinking water treatment plants and the network of distribution systems supplying consumers collectively represent one of the US’s largest public infrastructure assets. Distribution systems pose a unique challenge with respect to asset management. Physical infrastructure is distributed spatially, system operation depends on fluctuating customer demand, and real-time data collection of performance is limited. In addition, water scarcity, growing populations, and stricter regulations push community water systems to adapt in ways that challenge systems often constructed decades earlier.
For drinking water systems, loss of system integrity compromises human health and leads to lasting public distrust. This presentation explores failures in the drinking water industry and how holistic asset management is necessary to prevent future incidents. In many cases, a primary contributing factor was not a technical failure but an organizational weakness. In the most severe cases, long term planning decisions without proactive implementation or contingency plans laid the foundation for future incidents. In other cases, institutional frameworks without robust and redundant operating procedures have failed to recognize key indicators of an approaching incident, including critical feedback from customers. In all, maintaining integrity of drinking water infrastructure begins with an organizational framework that promotes proactive planning and interdisciplinary communication.
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