Five benefits of a water master plan


By Steven C. Jones, P.E., and Robert B. Sowby, P.E.
Hansen, Allen & Luce, Inc.

Drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems are vital to functioning cities. The public relies on them to supply clean water, remove waste, and prevent flooding. A master plan—a comprehensive assessment of your system’s current performance and its future requirements—helps you provide these critical services. Here are five benefits of a water master plan.

1. Inventory Current System

Understanding the current system is the first step in master planning. This usually involves collecting information on facilities and operations, as well as capturing institutional knowledge from your personnel.

2. Identify Future Needs

Population growth, development patterns, and facility aging will change your system’s performance. A forward-looking master plan helps you identify and prepare for future needs well before they arise.

3. Prioritize Future Projects

Growing systems require numerous ongoing improvements; deciding which to pursue first can be a challenge. A master plan prioritizes future projects by helping you allocate resources to ones that will make the most difference.

4. Provide Decision Framework

A master plan summarizes system-wide plans and information pertinent to many stakeholders. Use it as a framework for making decisions about capital improvements, policies, and funding.

5. Accelerate Future Work

When it is time to undertake a specific project, the master plan already contains much of the necessary information. Maps, descriptions, cost estimates, and technical data prepared with the master plan will accelerate the design process.

The full-length version of this article was published in the May 2014 issue of Water Environment & Technology.

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