Summer Course-Asset Management of Water Systems

IHE Delft Summer Course

Target Audience

Students and professionals in the water sector and other related disciplines (e.g. urban planners/architects, agronomists, political scientists, economists, accountants, ecologists).


Asset Management: The practice of managing the entire lifecycle (creation, maintenance, renewal, expansion, full/partial decommissioning) of a physical system that delivers some service(s).

Water systems in developing countries are often not equipped to formulate sound maintenance plans, backed by state-of-the-art knowledge and tools. This lack of capacity renders the enormous investments in water infrastructure to be unsustainable. Asset management is an essential component in the maintenance and improvement of services in water systems including utilities, irrigation systems and flood protection and water management infrastructure. It requires the identification of most critical components of networks, lifecycle cost analysis and minimizing negative impacts of (inevitable) failures. This approach is vitally important for the urban centres of the South, as performance demands increase with the population at a phenomenal rate.

Often, cities in the South have inherited ageing infrastructure systems, incapable of providing a minimal level of services. At the same time these cities are faced with unprecedented pressures to provide “more services with less”. This combined challenge calls for a systematic approach for maintenance, renewal and expansion decision making. In the urban water sector, this applies to water supply/transport & distribution systems, wastewater collection and treatment facilities, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and flood protection infrastructure.

Non-urban water systems like irrigation systems, large-scale flood protection work can also benefit from the sound application of asset management principals. Irrigation asset management is already a mature area, while the applications in flood protection are emerging.

The rapid future change including climate change, land use & demographic changes and changes in practices has imposed new and interesting challenges on how asset management principals are applied. Time-tested principals like whole-life cost optimization as well as new innovations like Real ‘in’ Options have a prominent place in asset management in a rapidly changing environment.

Learning Objectives

Gain a solid understanding of the principals of asset management and learn to creatively apply asset management to different (water) systems.