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Balancing Risk and Funding: Risk-Based Capital Program Management

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Many utilities have discovered that fine tuning their capital planning process to integrate asset management concepts and tools can yield cost savings and performance improvements. The Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) made the decision to kick off their asset management efforts with a business oriented and financially driven Capital Investment Plan (CIP) process that focused on project prioritization and business case analysis. A critical success factor was involving the whole organization in the process from the beginning including: Utility Leadership, District Managers, Engineering, Operations and Maintenance, and Finance.

The goal of the project was to develop a best in class capital planning and prioritization process that ensures a rational and sustainable CIP, responding to the business needs of both the BWWB and its Stakeholders. The policies, procedures, and processes designed as part of this project helped to ensure that optimal capital projects were selected and implemented consistent with asset management philosophy. The project included numerous workshops with stakeholders across the organization to ensure that all perspectives were considered in the evaluation and prioritization of capital projects.

At the conclusion of this project, the BWWB prioritized their current five year capital plan based on business metrics and financial analysis. They also established a sustainable process for articulating, developing, and meeting capital improvement needs across their organization.
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Keywords: Capital planning; project prioritization; risk management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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