Brown and Caldwell, Hunter Water sign strategic asset management teaming agreement

Environmental engineering and consulting firm Brown and Caldwell and Australian utility Hunter Water have signed an exclusive agreement to jointly pursue water- and wastewater-related asset management projects throughout North America.

Aug 7th, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 7, 2003 -- Environmental engineering and consulting firm Brown and Caldwell and Australian utility Hunter Water have signed an exclusive agreement to jointly pursue water- and wastewater-related asset management projects throughout North America.

Asset management is a comprehensive approach to utility management that is focused on improving customer service levels while reducing costs of asset ownership.

Though relatively new among North American public utilities, asset management has been practiced in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia over the past 20 years. With nearly a half-million customers in New South Wales, Hunter Water has earned international recognition for its innovative approaches to asset management implementation and the results it has achieved.

Through its Business Consulting Practice, San Francisco Bay Area-based Brown and Caldwell was among the first U.S. firms to begin helping utilities apply asset management principles to their business operations. "This partnership raises the bar on what it means to be a top-level asset management consultant," said Craig Goehring, Brown and Caldwell CEO. "Our clients now have access to unparalleled expertise in asset management through this alliance, which melds Brown and Caldwell's comprehensive asset management experience with Hunter Water's implementation innovations."

"Since adopting asset management in 1990, we have reduced customer rates by 30 percent in real terms, and costs per customer account by 40 percent," said Kevin Young, Hunter Water's manager of Corporate Planning. "The results are compelling. We have improved customer service and system performance while at the same time reduced our capital program by $220 million."

Independently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a typical U.S. utility can reduce overall costs by 20 percent through effective asset management practices.

"To work with utility managers who, in 10 years, have transformed their agency using asset management and achieved the results they have is truly exciting," said Goehring.

Urgency among U.S. utilities to organize their operations around asset management principles has been driven by federal, state and local governments -- and by utility ratepayers, who will likely have to cover the estimated $23-billion-a-year funding gap between infrastructure replacement needs and utility budgets. Over the next 20 years, U.S. water and wastewater utilities face an estimated $1 trillion in infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement costs, primarily for pipelines, treatment plants, pumping stations and related appurtenances.

Asset management offers these utilities a way to meet these costs while continuing to provide affordable services to their customers.

Established in 1947, Brown and Caldwell is a multi-discipline environmental engineering and consulting firm that provides scientific, technical and engineering design services to government and industry. The employee-owned company, with headquarters in Walnut Creek, Calif., has more than 1,100 employees in 40 offices throughout the United States. Engineering News-Record ranks Brown and Caldwell 54th among the nation's top 500 design firms, and 7th among firms providing wastewater design. On the web at http://www.brownandcaldwell.com/.

Hunter Water Corporation provides water and wastewater utility services to nearly one half-million people in the Lower Hunter region in New South Wales, Australia. Established under Australia's State Owned Corporations Act in 1989, it provides a broad range of technical and operational consulting services to water agencies, councils, industry and urban developers through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hunter Water Australia Pty Limited. On the web at http://www.hunterwater.com.au/ and http://www.hwa.com.au/.

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