Special Issue "Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 13 July 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Rita Salgado Brito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisbon, Portugal, Chair of IWA SAM SG
Interests: infrastructure asset management; performance assessment; urban drainage systems: wastewater and stormwater; hydraulic and water quality parameters monitoring; hydraulic modeling; urban resilience; nature-based solutions
Dr. Helena Alegre
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: infrastructure asset management; urban water systems; performance assessment systems; public policies; strategic planning; water losses and energy efficiency management; water and environment.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Water will focus on infrastructure asset management (IAM) of urban water systems. IAM is the set of processes that utilities need to have in place to ensure that infrastructure performance corresponds to service targets over time, that risks are adequately managed, that the corresponding costs, in a lifetime cost perspective, are as low as possible, and that asset’s value is optimized. Driven by long-term objectives, IAM embraces strategic, tactical, and operational cycles.

Our world faces challenges such as those addressed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, currently intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The contribution of urban water services is vital. We learned from this pandemic that we need to be prepared for the unexpected, and that flexible, robust, and autonomous services and assets can bolster that. They must become more resilient, safer, and more efficient and effective, while ensuring a good service for all in an affordable manner. Digital transition and circular economies are simultaneously opportunities and challenges.

IAM supports this transition from the current urban water systems to their aimed future state.

The Guest Editors will consider scientific and case-based papers that address the aforementioned issues, including governance, social, economic, and technical aspects.

Dr. Rita Salgado Brito
Dr. Helena Alegre
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • Infrastructure asset management
  • Strategic asset management
  • Urban water systems
  • Urban water services
  • Performance assessment
 

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
An Enabling Environment for Asset Management through Public Policy: The Benefits of Standardization and Application to the Water Sector
Water 2021, 13(24), 3524; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13243524 - 09 Dec 2021
Viewed by 455
Abstract
Water services—including urban water supply, wastewater, and stormwater services—are essential to society and critical for protecting human health and the well-being of communities. Goal 6 of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes this importance and aims to “ensure availability and [...] Read more.
Water services—including urban water supply, wastewater, and stormwater services—are essential to society and critical for protecting human health and the well-being of communities. Goal 6 of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes this importance and aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Despite progress, the UN reports billions of people still lack water and sanitation services. Many governments around the world face the challenge of balancing between investment in new assets, programs, and services and providing the required funding for repair and replacement of existing water assets. This paper argues infrastructure asset management establishes a foundational framework for the system of operations, management, and importantly, governance of assets to deliver services. An enabling environment for asset management, in addition to supporting the delivery of services, also contributes to meeting public policy objectives. The research question is: How can governments utilize public policy to enable asset management and consequently achieve societal objectives. A variety of public policy instruments used to enable infrastructure asset management and support achievement of government goals and objectives, such as the UN SDGs, are outlined and analyzed. The methodology involved a survey and case studies drawn from three countries, focused on the water sector. It also presents outcomes, common elements, and the need for and benefits of standardization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems)
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Article
Knowledge Management and Operational Capacity in Water Utilities, a Balance between Human Resources and Digital Maturity—The Case of AGS
Water 2021, 13(22), 3159; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13223159 - 09 Nov 2021
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Digitalization and knowledge management in the water sector, and their impacts on performance, greatly depend on two factors: human capacity and digital maturity. To understand the link between performance, human capacity, and digital maturity, six AGS water retail utilities were compared with all [...] Read more.
Digitalization and knowledge management in the water sector, and their impacts on performance, greatly depend on two factors: human capacity and digital maturity. To understand the link between performance, human capacity, and digital maturity, six AGS water retail utilities were compared with all Portuguese utilities using Portuguese benchmark data (2011–2019). AGS utilities achieved better results, including in compound performance indicators, which are assumed to be surrogates for digital maturity. These compound indicators were also found to correlate positively with better performance. In fact, AGS utilities show levels of non-revenue water (NRW) (<25%) below the national median (30–40%), with network replacement values similar to the national median (<0.5%). These results seem to imply that higher digital maturity can offset relatively low network replacement levels and guarantee NRW levels below the national average. Furthermore, regarding personnel aging index and digital maturity—two internally developed indicators—there was an increase in the digital maturity and aging of the staff, which, again, raises questions about long-term sustainability. The growing performance and the slight increase in digital maturity can be attributed to group-wide capacity building and digitalization programs that bring together staff from all AGS utilities in year-long activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems)
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Article
Model-Driven Strategies for Sulfide Control in a Regional Wastewater System Receiving Tannery Effluents in Portugal
Water 2021, 13(20), 2838; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13202838 - 12 Oct 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Ageing infrastructure are a concern for many wastewater utilities. This is accentuated with the presence of hydrogen sulfide within the sewer headspace, known to induce concrete corrosion, toxicity and odours. Some industrial effluents contain significant sulfide concentrations, however most field studies in the [...] Read more.
Ageing infrastructure are a concern for many wastewater utilities. This is accentuated with the presence of hydrogen sulfide within the sewer headspace, known to induce concrete corrosion, toxicity and odours. Some industrial effluents contain significant sulfide concentrations, however most field studies in the literature refer to domestic networks, or lab/pilot scale sulfide abatement strategies for varied effluents. Hence, the objectives of this work are: (1) To obtain data regarding the evolution of sulfides in a full-scale industrial sewer system in Portugal, receiving wastewater from a number of tanneries; (2) model their fate within the system and (3) experimentally evaluate sulfide precipitation with iron salts. Field work evidenced heavily sulfide loaded effluents, exceeding by far literature values for sewer systems. Modelling was carried out based on the AeroSept+ model, specifically calibrated to this type of effluent. Results showed the model was capable of reproducing the overall levels of sulfide in wastewater and H2S in the sewer headspace, while allowing insights into industrial discharges, originating a set of proposed interventions for sulfide abatement. This may be carried out by iron salts addition, in a ratio of 2.75:1, at existing monitoring stations. This approach was fundamental for an affordable performance assessment, under considerable uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems)
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Article
Performance Assessment System to Wastewater Utilities Strategic Planning
Water 2021, 13(18), 2489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13182489 - 10 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 609
Abstract
Urban water utilities face growing challenges in compliance with increasingly demanding legislation, tightening budgets, ageing personnel, decreasing infrastructure reliability, increasing operational costs, regulatory pressure, and climate change. Within this context, tracking the alignment of the performance with the mission and strategic objectives of [...] Read more.
Urban water utilities face growing challenges in compliance with increasingly demanding legislation, tightening budgets, ageing personnel, decreasing infrastructure reliability, increasing operational costs, regulatory pressure, and climate change. Within this context, tracking the alignment of the performance with the mission and strategic objectives of the organization, based on reliable and up-to-date data, is of utmost importance to enable effective and continual improvement management. Organizational performance assessment in the water sector has been a topic of growing attention since the 1990s due to the increase in the role of regulators and tighter legislation. Proactive utilities are incorporating sustainability, resource efficiency, resilience, and continual improvement principles in their practices. Strategic planning provides the road map for management and interconnecting the different areas of the organization. An essential component of strategic management planning is the adoption of a tailored performance assessment system (PAS), allowing a better response to these challenges from the water utility management perspective. This paper presents a novel PAS at the strategic level, which was tested and validated with wastewater utilities, in a co-creation process. The proposed PAS fully adopts the objectives recommended in international standards, with a corresponding set of criteria and metrics, and a validated proposal of reference values for the metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems)
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Article
Performance Assessment System for Energy Efficiency in Wastewater Systems
Water 2021, 13(13), 1807; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13131807 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 604
Abstract
Performance assessment is essential to effectively evaluate and monitor the activity of water utilities, support decision making, and encourage continuous improvement. Performance assessment systems (PAS), covering several service objectives and criteria, have been successfully applied in water supply and wastewater systems. Tailored approaches [...] Read more.
Performance assessment is essential to effectively evaluate and monitor the activity of water utilities, support decision making, and encourage continuous improvement. Performance assessment systems (PAS), covering several service objectives and criteria, have been successfully applied in water supply and wastewater systems. Tailored approaches focusing on the assessment of the energy use and efficiency in wastewater systems are still limited. This paper aims at the development and demonstration of a comprehensive PAS for energy efficiency, tailored for wastewater systems, incorporating criteria related to energy consumption, operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, and environmental impacts, such as untreated discharges and greenhouse gases emissions, among others. Management and control of excessive or undue inflows to these systems is specifically addressed by several novel criteria and metrics. The proposed PAS should be adapted by each utility to be aligned with the objectives of the organisation and with the implemented asset management strategy. The proposed approach and the resulting consolidated PAS are thoroughly described. Results from the application of the PAS to several Portuguese utilities are discussed. This PAS aims at contributing to a reliable and replicable process to assess energy efficiency in wastewater systems and to encourage a more rational energy management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems)
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Article
Water Pipe Replacement Scheduling Based on Life Cycle Cost Assessment and Optimization Algorithm
Water 2021, 13(5), 605; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13050605 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Water distribution networks (WDNs) comprise a complex network of pipes and are crucial for providing potable water to urban communities. Therefore, WDNs must be carefully managed to avoid problems such as water contamination and service failures; however, this requires a large budget. Because [...] Read more.
Water distribution networks (WDNs) comprise a complex network of pipes and are crucial for providing potable water to urban communities. Therefore, WDNs must be carefully managed to avoid problems such as water contamination and service failures; however, this requires a large budget. Because WDN components have different statuses depending on their installation year, location, transmission pressure, and flow rate, it is difficult to plan the rehabilitation schedule within budgetary constraints. This study, therefore, proposes a new pipe replacement scheduling approach to smooth the investment time series based on a life cycle cost (LCC) assessment for a large-scale WDN. The proposed scheduling plan simultaneously considers both the annual budget limitation and the optimum expenditure on the useful life of pipes. A multi-objective optimization problem consisting of three decision-making objectives—minimum imposed LCC on the network, minimum standard deviation of annual investment, and minimum average age of the network—is thus solved using a nondominated sorting genetic algorithm to obtain an optimal plan. Three scenarios with different pipe replacement time spans and different annual budget constraints are considered accordingly. The results indicate that the proposed scheduling framework provides an efficient water pipe replacement scheduling plan with a smooth management budget. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infrastructure Asset Management of Urban Water Systems)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

 Title: Model-Driven Strategies for Sulfide Control in a Regional Wastewater System Receiving Tannery Effluents in Portugal

Authors: Rita Ventura Matos, Manuel Peixeiro, Filipa Ferreira and José Saldanha Matos

Affiliation:

1              HIDRA, Lda. Av. dos Defensores de Chaves, n° 31–1° Esq., 1000-111 Lisbon, Portugal

2              CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: Ageing infrastructure are a concern for many wastewater utilities. This is accentuated with the presence of hydrogen sulfide within the sewer headspace, known to induce concrete corrosion, toxicity and odours. Some industrial effluents contain significant sulfide concentrations, however most field studies in the literature refer to domestic networks, or lab/pilot scale sulfide abatement strategies for varied effluents. Hence, the objectives of this work are: (1) To obtain data regarding the evolution of sulfides in a full-scale industrial sewer system in Portugal, receiving wastewater from a number of tanneries; (2) model their fate within the system and (3) experimentally evaluate sulfide precipitation with iron salts. Field work evidenced heavily sulfide loaded effluents, exceeding by far literature values for sewer systems. Modelling was carried out based on the AeroSept+ model, specifically calibrated to this type of effluent. Results showed the model was capable of reproducing the overall levels of sulfide in wastewater and H2S in the sewer headspace, while allowing insights into industrial discharges, originating a set of proposed interventions for sulfide abatement. This may be carried out by iron salts addition, in a ratio of 2.75:1, at existing monitoring stations. This approach was fundamental for an affordable performance assessment, under considerable uncertainty.

 

Title: An Enabling Environment For Asset Management Through Public Policy: The Benefits Of Standardization And Application To The Water Sector

 

Abstract: Water services – including urban water supply, wastewater, and stormwater services – are essential to society and critical for protecting human health and the well-being of communities. Goal 6 of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes this and aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Despite progress, the UN reports billions still lack water and sanitation services, and many governments around the world face the challenge of balancing between investments in new assets, programs, and services versus providing the required funding for repair and replacement of existing assets. This paper outlines a variety of public policy instruments used to enable infrastructure asset management and support achievement of government goals and objectives, like the UN SDGs. Analytical methods utilize a survey and case studies to illustrate how governments developed or applied public policy instruments to enable asset management. It also presents outcomes, common elements, the need for and benefits of standardization.

 

Keywords: public policy, asset management, standards, water services

 

Title: Performance Assessment System for Energy Efficiency in Wastewater Systems

Authors: Catarina Jorge, Maria do Céu Almeida and Dídia Covas

Affiliation:

1              Urban Water Unit, National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, LNEC, Av. Brasil 101, 1700-066 Lisbon, Portugal

2              CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal

 

Abstract: Performance assessment is essential to effectively evaluate and monitor the activity of water utilities, support decision making, and encourage continuous improvement. Performance assessment systems (PAS), covering several service objectives and criteria, have been successfully applied in water supply and wastewater systems. Tailored approaches focusing on the assessment of the energy use and efficiency in wastewater systems are still limited. This paper aims at the development and demonstration of a comprehensive PAS for energy efficiency, tailored for wastewater systems, incorporating criteria related to energy consumption, operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, and environmental impacts, such as untreated discharges and greenhouse gases emissions, among others. Management and control of excessive or undue inflows to these systems is specifically addressed by several novel criteria and metrics. The proposed PAS should be adapted by each utility to be aligned with the objectives of the organisation and with the implemented asset management strategy. The proposed approach and the resulting consolidated PAS are thoroughly described. Results from the application of the PAS to several Portuguese utilities are discussed. This PAS aims at contributing to a reliable and replicable process to assess energy efficiency in wastewater systems and to encourage a more rational energy management.

 

Title: Knowledge Management and Operational Capacity in Water Utilities, a Balance between Human Resources and Digital Maturity—The Case of AGS

Authors: João Faria Feliciano, André Marques Arsénio, Joana Cassidy, Ana Rita Santos

and Alice Ganhão

Affiliation: AGS–Administração e Gestão de Sistemas de Salubridade, S.A., Quinta da Fonte Office Park–Edifício Q54 D. José–Piso 2, 2770-203 Paço de Arcos, Portugal

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