Capacity Development for Small Public Water Systems

Capacity Development is a very important concept for the long term viability of public water systems. A key component of maintaining a viable public water system is ensuring that water system assets and finances are sustainable. This was the rationale behind the Department’s new statutory requirement for small community water systems to develop individual fiscal and asset management plans.

PWS Capacity Development

A Capacity Development Strategy considers the technical, managerial and financial (TMF) needs of public water systems (PWSs) as shown here:

Technical capacity refers to a PWSs ability to operate and maintain water system infrastructure and includes elements such as source water adequacy, infrastructure condition and the technical knowledge of its operators.

Managerial capacity refers to a PWSs ability to properly administer water system operations and includes elements such as organizational structure, asset management programs, capital improvement planning, operator training, record keeping, customer service and an understanding of regulatory responsibilities.

Financial capacity refers to a PWSs ability to properly manage system financial obligations while generating sufficient reserve funds to maintain infrastructure and includes elements such as rate structure, budget preparation, collection services and credit worthiness.

Small Community Fiscal and Asset Management Plan Requirements – NEW!

As a result of Public Act 18-168, all small community public water systems shall complete a fiscal and asset management plan for all capital assets by no later than January 1, 2021. This asset and fiscal plan must then be updated annually and be made available to the department upon request. To aid you in the development of the initial fiscal and asset management plan, a checklist and instruction guide are in the process of being developed and will be posted here as soon as it is finalized.

Hydropneumatic Storage Tank Assessment Requirement – NEW!

Public Act 18-168 has an additional requirement that each small community water system shall make the assessment of its hydropneumatic pressure tanks (excluding bladder type pressure tanks) its initial priority in its preparation of the fiscal and asset management plan. A small community water system that maintains a hydropneumatic storage tank as part of their water system must complete and submit to the department a hydropneumatic tank assessment no later than May 2, 2019 using the Hydropneumatic Storage Tank Fiscal and Asset Assessment Form below.

The plans and assessments above are an important step for small community PWS to prepare for long term success. Additional capacity development information and resources are available below.

Helpful Resources to Build PWS Capacity

  • EPA STEP Guide Series Step by Step guides for Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems
  • EPA Drinking Water Capacity Website many resources available for systems of all types
  • RCAP – Resources for Communities and People – EPA Technical Assistance Contractor that can provide technical assistance to public water systems for compliance and financial and managerial capacity topics
  • EFCN – Environmental Finance Center Network – EPA Technical Assistance Contractor that can provide financial and managerial assistance to public water systems