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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

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Asset Management

  • Condition Assessments Asset management staff conduct condition assessments on critical pipes.

  • Investigating Failures Asset managers document pipe failures to better understand causes and recommend mitigation strategies.

  • Asset Strategies Asset Management Plans recommend strategies for asset maintenance and replacement.

Portland’s water system is a network of reservoirs, pipes, pumps, tanks, valves, meters, and other equipment—each of these assets has its own life span and way of wearing out or failing.

Asset management combines engineering, economics, and business to identify the most cost-effective and efficient way to manage assets, through maintenance, repair, and replacement actions.

The two main elements of asset management are risk and service levels.

  • Risk — At what point must the bureau intervene to reduce either the likelihood an asset will fail or the consequences of failure?
  • Service Levels — What are the primary goals for the services the bureau should deliver to its customers?

The tools of asset management include economic analyses—such as calculating the benefit-cost ratios of actions and the net present value of assets—combined with engineering studies to determine asset status and condition. Benefits and costs of having and operating the water system are calculated in social, environmental, and financial terms—a practice called triple-bottom-line accounting.

Since 2005, the Portland Water Bureau has practiced asset management to improve the way we care for the infrastructure that delivers water to our customers. In 2007, the bureau’s management team signed an Asset Management Charter that set the direction for asset management and the way we do business.

The bureau has become a recognized as a leader in the water industry. An international leader in asset-management benchmarking, the International Water Association/Water Services Association of Australia, regards the Portland Water Bureau as a leader in three key strategic areas:

  • Developing asset management plans with strategic recommendations
  • Using business case tools to justify and validate decisions to invest in infrastructure
  • Advancing asset management practices through early adoption of asset management plans, participating in research, and developing asset management methodologies

The Water Bureau’s Asset Management Branch has been recognized several times for contributions to asset management in the water industry.

The 2013 Asset Management Planning Overview describes how the bureau has used asset management tools and principles to guide decisions about investing in assets.