The need to renovate ageing water mains and sewer networks will increase
dramatically in the near future. Water utilities will need to consider new
operating models for network maintenance and for mitigating the growth in
renovation debt. The SerVesi project developed risk analysis with regard to
VTT, together with Tampere University of Technology and the University of
Tampere, has studied the outsourcing of maintenance services for water supply
networks under the SerVesi project. VTT Expert Services Ltd have evaluated the
market volume for maintenance services in Finland at approximately EUR 250
million per annum. The market for network renovation and rebuilding is clearly
more coherent than that for maintenance, with annual volume in excess of EUR 400
Water utilities are facing increasing productivity pressures, while ever
greater expertise in network maintenance is needed to support technological
development. Collaboration is taking place with the private sector and with
other water utilities in the search for new operating practices.
A survey under the SerVesi project established the extent to which water
supply network maintenance has been outsourced and how future maintenance might
be organised. The survey reveals that water utilities have procured services for
practically all maintenance operations.
Most orders from service providers concern renovation of water mains and
sewers with methods that require no excavation, TV inspection of sewers, and
water meter repair. These are either outsourced completely or performed in close
and continuing cooperation between water utility and service provider.
There is no desire, however, to outsource all maintenance tasks to a private
contractor, or to another water utility. The response was least enthusiastic for
outsourcing operations connected with drinking water supply, fault correction
and customer services.
The partners in the SerVesi project developed methods for identifying the
risks related to outsourcing. The principle of the risk analysis is to describe
the service as completely as possible, split it up into sections, and identify
the potential risks for different parts of the service from both supplier and
customer perspective. Once the risks have been identified, the parties will be
able to negotiate a method of risk management that is satisfactory to both. This
enables transparency of operations and engenders reliable and open partnership.