UDAM a new working group of the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage



Behind the acronym UDAM stands a new working group of the Joint Committee on Urban Drainage, whose goal is to give a platform to everyone working on Urban Drainage Asset Management.

What is asset management? Asset management is a broad domain. It aims at minimizing the total cost of owning and operating assets while delivering the level of service expected by the customers. It contains the knowledge, tools and practices to maintain performance and to mitigate risks in a cost-efficient manner in a changing environment.


Impressions from the 2021 meeting (online)

Is it a new topic? Not really, the topic is at the core of the activity of utilities but it gets more visibility due to the fact that parts of the assets approach the end of their technical lifetime and decisions about future developments are at hand. A typical city of 100,000 to 500,000 people may have between 1,000 km and 5,000 km of buried network for wastewater collection. The maintenance and replacement costs of the networks could amount to million euros and major share of the annual budget for cities. Asset management typically include technical activities such infrastructure inspection, condition assessment, risk assessment, short-term rehabilitation planning, long-term financial planning, operation and maintenance (O&M) optimization but also policy, governance and social issues.


Impressions from a previous meeting in Innsbruck (2018)

So why a new working group on urban drainage asset management? Although asset management is a key component of utilities activities, research activities are traditionally focused on the understanding of meteorological, hydrological, hydraulic and water quality aspects. Asset management is still underestimated in the urban drainage research community even if utilities and municipalities have to face major issues such as infrastructure aging, network performance and adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, urban drainage systems are in continuous evolution and integrate a growing diversity of infrastructure such as sewer pipes, manholes and stormwater control measures. Even if each infrastructure has its own specificities, there is a need to consider interactions and mutual influences of the urban drainage components and to propose sustainable solutions for the entire system. Therefore, the main objectives of this new working group are to:

  • Increase the visibility of urban drainage asset management within the urban drainage community and within the water community.
  • Create interactions between the existing urban drainage asset management community (e.g. sewer) and growing communities such as the one focusing on stormwater control measures or nature based solutions.
  • Gather and share knowledge on asset management: decision aid systems, inspection techniques, O&M practices, condition assessment, rehabilitation strategies, etc.
  • Create a link between the urban drainage community and the IWA specialist group on strategic asset management.


Impressions from a previous meeting in Delft (2019)

The roots of this working group are the series of European research workshops on Sewer Asset Management (EURO-SAM) in the last five years. These workshops aim to share recent research results and to facilitate collaboration between researchers. This network is organizing a free of charge workshop each year in June (Lyon, 2013; Berlin, 2014; Amsterdam, 2015; Strasbourg, 2016; Innsbruck, 2018; Delft, 2019). 2020 workshop had to be cancelled due to the Corona Situation. The next workshop will be hold in Luleå, Sweden, in June 2021, hosted by Luleå University of Technology. You can find more information here: https://udam.home.blog/euro-sam.

Who is behind the working group? An international and very friendly team will lead the group: Nicolas Caradot (chair) from KWB Berlin, Frédéric Cherqui (vice-chair) from INSA Lyon/University of Melbourne, and Franz Tscheikner-Gratl (secretary) from NTNU Trondheim. The group is open to any researcher or practitioner interested in urban drainage asset management. We invite you to register freely on our website to become a full member (https://form.jotform.co/udam/join), receive information on asset management events and exchange with the community.

What are we actually doing? Ongoing works include the organization of the EURO-SAM workshops, the redaction of a position paper related to research needs in sewer asset management and the organization of dedicated sessions on asset management topics in international conferences such as UDM, ICUD, SPN and NOVATECH. There are already many ideas for future activities and any enthusiastic proposition from the members will be highly welcome!

Interested in collaboration or joining? Contact the leading committee of the working group (Franz.Tscheikner-Gratl@ntnu.no) or register easily via the group’s website: https://udam.home.blog.

Nicolas Caradot (chair) from KWB Berlin,
Frédéric Cherqui (vice-chair) from INSA Lyon / University Lyon 1,
Franz Tscheikner-Gratl (secretary) from NTNU Trondheim,
Nathalie Hernandez (secretary) from STEIN Infrastructure Management GmbH,