DENVER — CH2M HILL, in conjunction with the Water Research Foundation (WRF), developed a framework, software tool and related guidance to help water and wastewater utilities implement key attributes of Effective Utility Management (EUM). The tool is aligned with ten attributes defined in the EUM Primer established in 2008 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, six water and wastewater industry associations, and representatives from 16 utility systems. The new tool and guidance will enable water utilities to conduct a self-assessment in order to improve utility performance in one or all of the ten attributes to fit with their strategic utility goals.
In the WRF press release announcing the availability of the tool and guidance, Robert Renner, Executive Director of WRF said, “The Water Research Foundation recognized that water utilities were compelled to work towards more Effective Utility Management, but could benefit from detailed guidance on the implementation of more sustainable methods of operation.” He added, “Project resources provide utilities direction as to the important practice areas that can support Effective Utility Management and a structured process to track performance.”
The EPA, the associations that sponsored the initial development of the Primer, a project advisory committee, and nearly 30 utilities provided valuable input on the benchmarking guidance and tool. The guidance document is available on the WRF website for the project. The document provides utilities with specific recommendations on how to benchmark their current and target performance for attributes and identify strategies to address gaps in order to improve performance and effectiveness of their systems. The tool and a related User Guide are available for download here at no charge.
The final project report will be available to the industry in April 2014.
“We are proud to have played a significant role in the Water Research Foundation’s project to develop the EUM tool,” said Mike Matichich, CH2M HILL Principal Technologist, who has served as Principal Investigator for this project. “Utilities are facing challenges such as aging infrastructure, financial constraints, security, and increased customer level of service demands to mention a few, and need to find ways to efficiently respond to these challenges.”
Yakir Hasit, CH2M HILL Senior Principal Technologist, who served as CH2M HILL’s Project Manager for the project, added, “Utilities that worked with us to test this benchmarking process and tool found that it provided significant value in identifying ways to improve management performance and efficiency.”
CH2M HILL’s Fair Yeager, who served as CH2M HILL’s Deputy Project Manager for this project and Frank Roth from Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, N.M., will present the paper, “Streamlining Performance Measurement and Progress: Application of a Benchmarking Tool for Effectively Managed Utilities,” at the upcoming Utility Management Conference, February 25-28, in Savannah, Ga. The paper includes a utility case study in the use and application of the benchmarking tool.