Loughborough University
Enang R. I. (2021) Towards Effective Asset Management - improving operation and maintenance of water distribution systems - Doctoral Thesis.pdf (5.06 MB)

Towards effective asset management improving operation and maintenance of a water distribution system through better information management practices: cases of Abuja, Nigeria and Kampala, Uganda

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posted on 2021-07-02, 07:46 authored by Roses Enang

Both information management (IM) and operation and maintenance (O&M) are key aspects of asset management (AM) which is crucial for optimising and sustaining utility infrastructures and services. This research used an inductive approach to assess how these three subjects interacted with the aim of developing a strategy for improving operation and maintenance through better information management practices. A key focus was placed on the water distribution system (WDS), and its assets because this section made up most of the physical assets in water utilities and is the direct link to the customers. Literature showed that there was little research with detailed emphasis on IM for O&M within unreformed utilities, with a view to incremental improvements. Other research focused on systems, top management and customer perceptions while this research focused on everyday operational decisions that system operatives took to keep the system running. From the key data collection tools, a total of 67 Interviews, 55 observations and 10 document reviews were conducted.

Two utilities were used as case studies: a major case from the Federal Capital Territory Water Board (FCTWB) in Nigeria and a minor case from Kampala Water (KW) in Uganda. Both utilities carried out similar O&M activities. FCTWB, having centralised its operations, often took longer to conduct O&M, with longer decision pathways and wider communication chains than KW which was decentralised and kept daily operational level O&M decisions within its branch offices. The Ugandan KW case had more resources and autonomy as compared to the Nigerian FCTWB but FCTWB showed resilience in the way it continued to manage water infrastructures despite these limitations. The nature of information and asset management between the two utilities were compared and this showed that these two utilities did successfully run water supply services to their mandated areas but FCTWB accomplished this less efficiently. Lessons from KW and the literature showed that FCTWB has the potential to achieve better asset management within the current operating environment by capitalising on its existing IM and O&M practices without making major changes to the organisational structure because asset management is best improved in an incremental way while sufficient IT and other resources become available.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


Loughborough University

Rights holder

© Roses Ita Enang

Publication date



A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


Sam Kayaga ; Kevin Sansom ; Brian Reed ; Ian Smout

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

This submission includes a signed certificate in addition to the thesis file(s)

  • I have submitted a signed certificate