Water infrastructure in the US received a major boost this year. Besides the nice infographics, this article had a few good takeaways for water leaders and 3 of them in particular resonated.
1. "Actively support communities, utilities, public entities, and private-sector partners on the development of projects. Leaders could help create a robust pipeline of projects by providing replicable technical solutions, technical assistance in project concept and plan development, financing packages that catalyze capital, and robust guidance and timelines. Leaders could also help educate homeowners and other community members on how to apply for lead-pipe removal grants, particularly in communities that have had difficulty applying for funding opportunities like this in the past."
Observation: The focus here is on project enablers and outcomes. The technical solutions are there. The step up needed is getting them rolled out.
2. "Increase the capacity to deliver on projects. Leaders could proactively identify potential supply chain bottlenecks—including available materials and contractors for construction processes—and mitigate those bottlenecks (for example, using the procurement function of the state to support workforce development through training and apprenticeship programs)."
Observation: Big factor... Delivery. Notoriously the part of the value chain that has the greatest potential for value to be rapidly eroded. Doesn't always get the attention of business leaders, but deserves more attention & investment than it has now.
3. "Improve project efficiency by working across agencies—so teams need to only dig once. Leaders could improve the return they are getting from funds by working across agencies and contractors to coordinate pipe replacement and other water-related projects with additional construction needs on the same site (for example, electrical line or broadband cable installation)."
Observation: Huge. Stakeholders hold a great deal of untapped value. Project owners simply have to stop thinking of them as project obstacles to be overcome or avoided.