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!

Pursuant to the new Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) §19a-37e, all small community public water systems serving < 1,000 year-round residents shall complete a fiscal and asset management plan for all capital assets by no later than January 1, 2021. To aid small CWS in the development of the initial fiscal and asset management plan, a Fiscal & Asset Management Plan Template, Instructions and Guidance Document have been prepared and are available at the links below.

Small CWS  Fiscal and Asset Management Plan Training (June 2, 2020) - Slides - To view this webinar please click here

As a follow up to requests from small community PWS, DPH is making available a blank budget spreadsheet and weekly meter reading trend spreadsheet in Excel.  The excel spreadsheets are below and have formulas to automatically sum revenues and expenses and create graphs to trend water production data.  Please feel free to use these tools as you work to develop your individual fiscal and asset management plan.

The template has been designed so that a PWS owner working with their certified operator should be able to complete the plan based on their water system records.  This asset and fiscal plan is due by 1/1/2021, must be updated annually and also must be made available to the department upon request. DPH staff will request to see a copy of the completed Fiscal & Asset Management Plan for Small Community PWS at the time of the PWS’s next sanitary survey after the 1/1/21 due date.  A list of the small PWS required to complete a plan is available at the link below.

The statute also includes requirements to determine unaccounted for water loss at small community PWS.  This concept has been included as Section 4 of the template.  While many small community PWS may not be calculating unaccounted for water regularly due to the lack of customer metering, this is a very important exercise that will help small community PWS in many ways including identification of main breaks/leaks and service line leaks and to maximize use of limited supply capacity during drought periods, for example.      

Hydropneumatic Storage Tank Assessment Requirement

CGS §19a-37e 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 purposes, and financial and managerial capacity topics for applicants of USDA Rural Development loan applicants
  • EFCN – Environmental Finance Center Network – EPA Technical Assistance Contractor that can provide financial and managerial assistance to public water systems, maintain the Asset Management Switchboard website
  • ASRWWA - Atlantic States Rural Water and Wastewater Association - a private non-profit organization that represents water and wastewater systems across Connecticut and Rhode Island, through training, technical assistance, and advocacy.