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Guelph Asset Management Plan Shows $271M in Water Infra. Backlog

Posted on March 29, 2017

City Council for Guelph, Ontario, unanimously endorsed the City’s Corporate Asset Management Plan and Asset Management Policy at March 27th meeting of the council. The plan will help manage infrastructure backlog, including for water, wastewater, and stormwater assets.

This was the city’s first asset management plan and outlines the processes and practices the city is undertaking to ensure its assets and services offer maximum value to the Guelph community.

“Asset management protects and enhances the quality of life in Guelph by informing the best possible decisions for our assets—such as pipes, buildings, roads and parks,” said Daryush Esmaili, manager of Corporate Asset Management and OWWA/WEAO Joist Asset Management Committee member. “This plan is our roadmap for getting the best value and addressing the highest-priority needs with your tax and rate dollars.”

Esmaili and his team have focused on a risk-based approach to the city’s asset management plan. A risk-based system allows the asset management team to prioritize decisions and to understand when assets enter critical stages of their lifecycle. The team also worked to incorporate environmental, social, and economic risks into decision making to optimize day-to-day proceses.

The asset management program was started in early 2016 and since then. The development of the plan revealed that some City assets are in better shape than originally thought, while there is more work to be done to maintain or replace others. About half of the City’s wastewater assets have less than half of their remaining service life left. One quarter of Guelph’s $4.1 billion total asset holdings are more than half way through their service life and the infrastructure backlog is estimated at about $500 million. Approximately, $271 million of the $500 million backlog is in rate-supported infrastructure, such as water, wastewater, and stormwater assets. However, stormwater and contaminated sites are areas where current metrics have not supplied full confidence in the asset rating. In 2017, the asset management team will work to improve their knowledge of these holdings.

“We knew the infrastructure backlog figure would increase after we completed our detailed analysis,” noted Esmaili. “Now we have a clearer picture, and we’re working on finding solutions that will provide our community with the best value for their tax dollars.”

Th stormwater service fee, approved by Council in 2016, was aimed at helping to address the infrastructure funding gap. Federal and provincial government grants are another source for funding.

For more on the City of Guelph’s asset management plan, visit their website.

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