It’s expensive to operate and maintain water infrastructure. More regulation and customer demand are driving utilities and public works agencies to think about ways to cut down on costs, maximize assets, and streamline their operations without sacrificing safety and service.

ScottHaskinsBy: Scott Haskins, CH2M HILL Director of Technology, Quality and Innovation

Scott Haskins will present during the ‘Delivering Performance’ strand at the American Water Summit on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. He will share current practices employed by water and wastewater utilities for streamlining operations for greater efficiency. CH2M HILL’s Water Business President Bob Bailey and other water experts will join Scott at the Summit.

“Do more with less” is a mantra that many companies and individuals have adopted over the past several years as they look for opportunities to streamline operations and manage budgets and resources more efficiently. Water utilities and public works agencies are no different. Recently, we have seen a trend in utility optimization as a way to operate water and wastewater systems more effectively, better manage limited budgets, and identify efficiencies to generate additional revenue.

You may be asking yourself what exactly is utility optimization. Think about it like this. When you manage your household, you have a monthly budget that takes into consideration your total income and your cost of living. Are there areas where you can cut back expenses that would help you operate more effectively or efficiently? This is what many utilities and public works agencies are doing on a grand scale. Rather than settling for a “one-size-fits-all” approach, advancements in technology have given utilities access to tools and models for analyzing multiple alternatives to find the optimal solution to streamline business processes, manage capital spending and funding needs, make better decisions, train staff, and enhance facilities to ultimately lower costs.

CH2M HILL has been involved in numerous consulting contracts, including a project with the San Diego Public Utilities Department, to help our clients identify this optimal solution. When considering streamlining utility management and operations, there are seven things to consider:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Risk management
  • Maintenance effectiveness
  • Service levels
  • Sustainability
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Technology

Don’t miss our blog series on Asset Management for more tips on getting the most out of your utility operations, plant equipment, and other infrastructure.

Scott Haskins is a Senior Vice President and Director of Technology, Quality and Innovation at CH2M HILL. He serves on their Global Leadership Team, leads technology initiatives and consulting projects, and is active in national and international leadership roles in the water sector. Previously he served with the City of Seattle as Deputy Director of Seattle Public Utilities. He was responsible for directing drinking water, surface water, wastewater and solid waste functions. Earlier Scott held positions as their CFO, Director for Operations and Maintenance, Resource Management, and Finance and Administration. Mr. Haskins earned a Master of Public Administration and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington. He active in leadership roles with water sector associations; serves on the EPA’s Environmental Finance Advisory Board; and has been engaged in numerous finance, asset management, benchmarking and utility management water research projects.  Mr. Haskins also is the co-author of three books and has published numerous papers and journal articles.