Enabling Wise Infrastructure Investments
By Carrie W. Capuco, Walter Graf, Ravi George, and Carita Parks
A new program allows utilities to learn from each other in the battle against failing infrastructure.
Condition assessment and renewal engineering are critical to infrastructure asset management, now more than ever in the face of aging and deteriorating wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. As utilities encounter failing infrastructure, they tend to look for which condition assessment and renewal engineering technologies they should employ.
In response to this need, Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) researcher Dr. Sunil Sinha, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, developed the WATERiD knowledge base (www.waterid.org). It is envisioned that WATERiD will help utilities reduce expenses by allowing them to compare methods and learn from the experience of other utilities on the effectiveness and performance of various techniques and technologies. “Water infrastructure is invisible and typically considered a local issue. On several occasions, renewal planning for water infrastructure has been on the cusp of becoming a national political platform issue, only to be knocked out of the spotlight by other suddenly pressing issues. One would think that infrastructure renewal for sustainable access to clean water would actually be leveraged more fully as a prominent national issue for generating political consensus,” remarks Sinha. “Our nation’s infrastructure is the historical backbone of our economic success. Wise infrastructure investments have paid for themselves many times over in the economic productivity of our nation.”