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asset management cpu

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Dealing with Aging Water Utilities of the US through Infrastructure Asset Management

aging water infrastructure US

Most of the water infrastructure of the US were constructed in late 1940s and therefore they are old. Aging water utilities are weak and vulnerable to leaks and failures, which may be caused by natural and mad-made stimuli.

Considering that majority of the water pipes in the US were embedded at the close of World War II, then a considerable percentage of these are nearing the end of their useful life.

The benchmark report of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2002 published that some water systems lose 60% of water due to pipe leaks. According to the report many cities are experiencing water delivery loses.

This problem has not been addressed totally for some technical and financial reasons. The aging water utilities of the US presents threat to the community’s health and lifestyle.

Leakages through the pipe walls and joints are sources of contamination. Also, the force of leaking water may cause soil erosion or block water delivery.

Just imagine the impact of contaminated water to health. Also, the loss of water affects industries and business operations. When water supply is diminished due to old and defective water conduits, households are gravely affected in terms of domestic use such as cooking, gardening and preparing for going to school or offices.

What adds to the problem is the lack of infrastructure management plan. As the days, months and years go by, without intervention soon, the aging water utilities will deteriorate from “very poor” to “failure” condition. If failure happens, city councils and local governments will be in pandemonium trying to solve the causes and effects of water infrastructure failure.

The cost of restoring old water infrastructure into good condition is high. Implementing a substantial and aggressive intervention to resuscitate an old and dying water system is very expensive. Thus, coming up with a plan is one good strategy that utility administrators and infrastructure management engineers may consider doing.

Leaders who are not convinced of the importance of making an infrastructure asset management plan have the tendency to only look at the cost of making one. We cannot blame them for perceiving making an asset management strategy as merely an expensive exercise because times are hard and the negative economic situation is far from over.

Yes, it may involve expense but they should also consider that instituting a system that would make water asset management sustainable in decades to come is a wise venture.

EPA in their “The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis in 2002” and GAO (General Accounting Office) in their “Water Infrastructure” study mention the absence of better water asset management in water utilities operation and maintenance.

The state or the local governments could opt to invest on decision-making software and engage consultants to guide them in planning and executing a working asset management plan. Because there are many available outstanding asset management software programs, evaluating what would work best for the current situation is necessary.

This may entail searching for qualified and experienced professionals who could expertly guide through the local asset managers in creating and implementing the water infrastructure management plan of action.

It might cost a considerable amount of money but the primary benefit of implementing solutions to aging water utilities based on an infrastructure asset management plan< is the judicious use of financial resources of the US.

Inframanage has an expert infrastructure management team, which experiences and expertise in New Zealand asset management setting are quite applicable to the US situation.

Photo Source: RT.COM

New Orleans Achieves Stronger Infrastructure Resilience thru the IHNC Surge Barrier

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier

The catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 provide many lessons on infrastructure resilience. The threat of storm surges remains because of the city’s average elevation level is six feet (or almost 2 meters) below sea level and being bodies of water surround the city.

In 2005, the 28-foot storm surge that Hurricane Katrina created left some areas of New Orleans flooded. There were breaches on the floodwall due to foundation failure and water over topping the levees.

Learning from Hurricane Katrina experience, New Orleans and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System embarked on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier or IHNC Surge Barrier project.

Its construction begun in 2008, and with an aggressive four-year timeline to beat. Despite many complications and technical challenges, the barrier was completed ahead of time in 2011. Construction cost reached $1.1 billion. It’s was a simultaneous design and build civil work project.

The IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is one of the largest civil works project designed and constructed in the US Army Corp’s history. It extends through the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet near New Orleans.

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier

It was designed to reduce the effect of storm surge and prevents damage to the most vulnerable areas around New Orleans. The barrier specifically protects the surrounding area against storm surge coming from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Borgne.

The structure consists of three gates that allow vessel passage through a concrete barrier wall, 10,000 feet long and 26 feet high. There’s a complete floodwall closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The Seabrook Floodgate was also constructed, another navigation gate in the vicinity of Seabrook that meets and blocks possible storm surge from the Lake Ponchartrain.

With the breaches repaired and fortified, the level of protection in New Orleans is much better than any time in their entire history. The New Orlean’s surge barrier proved its mettle and served its purpose when Hurricane Isaac came in August 2012.

With its complex structural design, the edifice stands as an infrastructure resilience landmark.  This year, the infrastructure garnered the 2014 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Achieving 100-year storm criteria, IHNC is now considered the model of floodgate and floodwall designs all over the world. Now an infrastructure resilience icon, the IHNC Surge Barrier has become the pride of Louisiana and the US.

Calamities will continue to challenge civilization but with infrastructure management experts providing resilience plans and strategies, risks are significantly reduced.

PHOTO CREDIT: Seacity2100; American Society of Civil Engineers

FOODNATION – Building a Better Philippines through Food Technology

Foodnation PAFT

Philippine Assocation of Food Technologists

This is one national convention that Centralians in related fields should consider attending.

The 53rd Annual PAFT Convention is set 2-4 July 2014 at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City.

Visit and “Like” the The Philippine Association of Food Technologists, Inc. Annual Convention to receive updates about the event.

Learn more about PAFT through their website: http://www.paft-phil.com/about_us.html

CPU is proud to have an alumnus in the person of Engr. Asiel Nils Castillon (ChE ’87) sitting in the PAFT Board of Directors. He’s been helping the national organization’s programs for several years now.

Centralians, students, faculty and staff members who desires to be updated, gain knowledge and exposure in food technology should consider attending the 53rd Annual PAFT Convention.

Why Civil Engineering Remains a Bright and Lucrative Course

civil engineering career

I read an article titled “Philippine Government Increases Infrastructure Expenditure to 5% of GDP in 2014 – Is This Enough?” and realised that Civil Engineering is a good course of choice.

Do you know why?

  • The Philippine Government has earmarked $9.24 billion (3% of GDP) for infrastructure spending in the 2014 budget.
  • Infrastructure spending will increase to 5% in the next two years or at $13.57 billion and $19.05 billion in 2015 and 2016, respectively

Now, this is only as far as Philippines is concerned.

Read this article “Why Infrastructure Management is Important“, and you will notice how much the countries in regions of the world will be spending annually for infrastructures.

According to the World Bank Infrastructure Strategy Update chart, the annual infrastructure spending of some world regions is 7% of GDP or between $45.3 to $207 billion dollars.

Also, with most developing and third-world countries struggling for integrity, the World Bank would be needing honest and skilled civil engineers who would supervise all these infrastructure program implementation around the world.

Now, consider this.

For all the infrastructures these countries will be building as they cope with population and development, the role of infrastructure management or infrastructure asset management experts are valuable.

CLICKING on the image below will direct you to a post that will provide snippets of infrastructure management learning in the Philippine context.

Philippine Government Increases Infrastructure Expenditure to 5  of GDP in 2014 – Inframanage


Study at Central Philippine University.

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The Reign of the Independents/SIDP (1987-1990) – History of the Revived CPUR and the Emergence of the Student Independent Democratic Party

The Reign of the Independents/SIDP (1987-1990)

central philippine university republic

Independent candidates during their miting-de-avance parade in 1988.

The decision to boycott the school year 1986-87 election created disillusionment to some members of the USP.  According to them, they were not consulted about the party’s decision.  They said that only top USP officials made the decision whose pride in the “Constitution” issue was affected.

Meanwhile, some idealistic members of the Koalisyon were becoming restless because of the party’s failure to implement programs, which would make leadership impression to the studentry.

The polarization of the CPUR between USP and Koalisyon which deviated the CPUR from a real pro-student government, the failure of both parties to work in unity prompted other leaders both members and non-members of the two political parties to search for an alternative.

Right after the election in 1986, Val Salido, consistent honor student in the College of Engineering was challed by a classmate to make initial plans to organize an alternative group.

Salido was a former CPUR senator (USP) in 1984.  He and the classmate discussed their visions of a true pro-student CPUR.  They plotted palns for the SY 1987-88 CPUR election.

Immediately, the thought of forming a new party emerged.  However, the two realized that forming a party would not be a good solution because they perceived that the students might have negative impressions on political parties based on the present party polarization in the CPUR.

Later, Val Salido, Ryan Comuelo, a high school classmate; and the engineering student leader conceived the idea that instead of forming a party, candidates for all positions would be recruited.  They will be instructed to file their candidacy as independents.

This concept was later echoed to Rico Plotria, a classmate in college and in high school.  Plotria was a popular leader in the College of Engineering.  At that time, the Koalisyon as their next presidential bet was eyeing Rico Plotria.

In SY 1987-88, while the “independent concept” was silently being worked out by Salido, Plotria and their supporters, another group under the leadership of Roy Fajutrao, Jojie Roy Juarez, and David Mark Dominado who incidentally were high school classmates of Salido and Plotria, organize a party.

John Roldan, a fifth year EE student and the chairperson of the Work Student Organization became the standard bearer of this party known as the New Student Alliance. (NSA later became the Democratic Student Alliance).

Meanwhile, Koalisyon, the ruling party was preparing for the year’s election and with hopes to again capture the presidency.  However, the party’s popularity was at the ebb because most of the students were dissatisfied with the current CPUR leadership.

The students’ cry for a change in leadership was proven true when at the prelude of the election Koalisyon could not come up with a strong national and provincial line-up of candidates. Some of their leaders in the colleges who were Salido and Plotria’s batch in high school and whom they were counting on to recruit candidates defect to the Independents.

In the college of engineering, the Phi Beta Epsilon Fraternity, which was a PANGMASA and later Koalisyon’s avid follower, shifted its loyalty to the Independent’s cause.  Val Salido is a member of the fraternity.

To further strengthen the independent support in the college of engineering, Salido forged union with the Gamma Rho Upsilon, also an engineering-based fraternity.  In due time, Koalisyon’s machinery broke down with College of Theology as the only supporting college left.

As the deadline for application of candidacy drew nearer, the remnants of loyal USP leaders made a last effort to establish their presence and participation in the election by circulating printed statemen, “encouraging all USP candidates to run as independents”.  However, Amparo Barroma, another high school classmate of Salido and Plotria refrained from distributing such classmates as it would affect the “independent” stand of the group.

The slogan of the independent candidates was “I am Independent! I am free to serve!”.  In the election, all “Independent” candidates, except a candidate for representative in high school won the election.

Thus, for the first time in history of the CPU Republic a landslide victory was achieved not by a party but by a group of Independent candidates.

READ WHAT THE INDEPENDENTS ACHIEVED IN A YEAR’S TIME… (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Source: Jonan Castillon, “The History of the Revived CPUR and the Emergence of the Student Independent Democratic Party,” Central Echo Summer 1999.

 

Infrastructure Management – Does CPU Teach This?

Infrastructure Management involves the prolonging of life and use of long-term assets for the common good.

Infrastructure Management involves the prolonging of life and use of long-term assets for the common good.

Does CPU teach “Infrastructure Management”?

I’m a Civil Engineering graduate of CPU 1989 and I can’t recall encountering the phrase “infrastructure management”.

Maybe I wasn’t listening or I was absent when it was lectured but was the topic ever brought up in any of our subjects?

Our curriculum at that time included nine units of management but they are more related to financial and business management.

I could recall two phrases that could relate to infrastructure management topics, “sum-of-the-years digits” and “cost-benefit ratio” but they were never emphasized in that context.

Is “infrastructure management” in the vocabulary of Central Philippine University? The easy and fast way to know is to do a search in CPU’s website. I made a quick search and it can’t be found.

Anyway, Centralians need not be dismayed for the absence of “infrastructure management” (maybe during our years at CPU only) in our curriculum.

I’m sure that some civil engineer alumni have practiced infrastructure asset management in their profession, courtesy of learning through experience or formal training through their company.

I learned recently that infrastructure management is integral in New Zealand local government practices.

The basic aim of infrastructure asset management is to create plans and implement best practice procedures to maintain and prolong the service life of long-term infrastructure assets.

This is very crucial to supporting and sustaining the quality of life in the community. When infrastructures or assets are managed well, it has implication in local and national economy, especially when resources are very limited.

Going back to the question, I also have the big suspicion that other top engineering schools in the Philippines might be touching lightly on ‘infrastructure management’ and related topics.

If Central Philippine University gives emphasis on “Infrastructure Management”, she will soon be graduating people who are apt and ready to gain career in this area, maybe in their local districts initially and take on jobs internationally.

For further information, please browse this –> INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT website.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Yachts at Wellington Harbour by Ross Waugh

Philippine Association of Food Technologists, Inc. Annual Convention

Philippine Association of Food Technologists

The PAFT convention is for food technologists and other allied courses.

PAFT is one organization that addresses concerns related to food science and food technology. They advocate food safety.

The convention theme is about innovative food ingredients.

Packaging engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering and agricultural engineering, biochemistry, microbiologists and heads of higher education institutions are invited to attend.

Engr. Asiel Nils Castillon (CPU ChE 1987) currently sits as member of the PAFT board of directors.

He desires Centralians, students and professionals, to participate and be updated about current trends in food technology.