IWA Publishing

A pathway to a more sustainable water sector: sustainability-based asset management

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The water sectors of many countries are faced with the need to address simultaneously two overarching challenges; the need to undertake effective asset management coupled with the broader need to evolve business processes so as to embrace sustainability principles. Research has thus been undertaken into the role sustainability principles play in asset management. As part of this research, a series of 25 in-depth interviews were undertaken with water sector professionals from around Australia. Drawing on the results of these interviews, this paper outlines the conceptual relationship between asset management and sustainability along with a synthesis of the relevant opinions voiced in the interviews. The interviews indicated that the participating water authorities have made a strong commitment to sustainability, but there is a need to facilitate change processes to embed sustainability principles into business as usual practices. Interviewees also noted that asset management and sustainability are interlinked from a number of perspectives, especially in the way decision making is undertaken with respect to assets and service provision. The interviews also provided insights into the research needed to develop a holistic sustainability-based asset management framework.

Keywords: asset management, performance management, qualitative research, sustainability

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