There has been an increasing need to raise awareness of – and best practices around – damage prevention related to underground utilities over the last few years. The need to keep our communities safe and services up and running is playing a critical role across both the industry and in our everyday lives.

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is dedicated to preventing damage to underground utility infrastructure and protecting those who live and work near these important assets through the shared responsibility of its 16 stakeholder groups.

As the industry looks to the future of damage prevention and faces increasingly complex challenges, there is an obligation to encourage innovation and incentivize the development of damage prevention solutions for the future. With that in mind, CGA formed the Next Practices Initiative during its inaugural Damage Prevention Roundtable in 2019. The Next Practices Initiative focuses on driving innovative solutions to solve the challenges the industry faces, and it is guided by damage prevention leaders based on industry data and analysis information received from committees, members and damage prevention stakeholders. The initiative is overseen by the Next Practices Advisory Group, and leaders in the damage prevention industry across all stakeholders were appointed by CGA’s Board of Directors.

“Understanding the causes of damages will help identify ways the entire industry can work together to improve the process, increase efficiencies, and ultimately decrease damages,” said AEM Senior Director of Utility John Somers. “Through AEM’s engagement, on behalf of our members and the industry, with The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and my participation on their Next Practices Advisory Group, we are gaining valuable insights on how all stakeholder groups can work together to help move the industry forward.”

As part of its data-gathering phase, CGA is seeking input via a survey of damage prevention stakeholders on the most critical challenges facing the industry, and it wants to ensure broad participation from all stakeholder groups. CGA welcomes the input of AEM’s members, who do not have to be CGA members to participate.

It only takes a few minutes to participate, and the deadline for responses is Oct. 28. Take the survey now.

“CGA is excited about the future of damage prevention, and we look forward to working with AEM to help drive innovative solutions that will prevent damage to underground utility infrastructure and protect those who live and work near these important assets through the shared responsibility of our stakeholders,” said CGA Vice President Erika Lee.

For additional information on the survey, or on CGA’s Next Practices Initiative, contact AEM’s John Somers at

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