Water: Small Systems and Capacity Development
Areas of Interest
States can use capacity development to efficiently target the technical, financial and managerial needs of many small systems and then directly address those needs through specific activities that help systems enter and remain in compliance. EPA developed the following reference materials to support the implementation of state capacity development programs. These documents provide more information on the purpose and importance of capacity development, particularly for small water systems, and the ways in which states and other organizations can help build small system capacity.
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Capacity Development Program Implementation
These materials provide core guidance for building state programs and offer a national vision for the future of capacity development.
- National Characteristics of Drinking Water Systems Serving 10,000 or Fewer People (PDF) (104 pp, 6MB)
(EPA 816-R-10-022, July 2011) This report summarizes the characteristics of small drinking water systems serving 10,000 or fewer people and how these characteristics may impact their short- and long- term sustainability. The report also provides information on ownership, operation, financial stability, infrastructure needs, and compliance with National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs).
- Re-Energizing the Capacity Development Program: Findings & Best Practices from the Capacity Development Re-Energizing Workgroup (PDF) (35 pp, 1MB)
(EPA 816-R-11-004, April 2011) This document summarizes the work and findings of the workgroup.
- National Capacity Development Strategic Plan (PDF) (32 pp, 1MB)
(EPA 816-K-07-003, January 2008) This plan provides a roadmap identifying how EPA's National Capacity Development Program will support the Office of Water's strategic goal to improve PWS performance.
- Reporting Criteria for Annual State Capacity Development Program Implementation Reports (PDF) (5 pp, 1MB)
Memo from the director of OGWDW to the Regional Drinking Water program managers, June 2005.
- Update to the Implementation of Capacity Development & Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs to Reflect the New Enforcement Policy & Enforcement Targeting Tool (PDF) (4 pp, 862K)
Memo from the director of OGWDW to the Regional Drinking Water program managers, March 2012.
- Handbook for Capacity Development: Developing Water System Capacity under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended in 1996 (PDF) (141 pp, 404K)
(EPA 816-R-99-012, July 1999) A comprehensive discussion of the history and objectives of capacity development and the programs in place to support the initiative.
- Guidance on Implementing the Capacity Development Provisions of the 1996 SDWA Amendments (PDF) (60 pp, 157K)(EPA 816-R-98-006, July 1998) Information on the statutory requirements for state capacity development programs.
- Building Water System Capacity: A Guide for Tribal Administrators (PDF) (6 pp, 3MB)
(EPA 816-K-01-006, July 2001) A handbook on understanding the importance of capacity development for tribal water systems. Provides a basic overview of capacity development and the merits of increasing small tribal systems' technical, managerial, and financial capabilities. Includes contact information for EPA Regions and other assistance providers serving the needs of tribal water systems.
Helpful Information for State Programs
These documents offer additional guidance, suggestions and considerations for effective implementation of state programs.
- State Drinking Water Program Collaboration:
The following fact sheets feature practical opportunities for better integration among state programs and organizations that implement the Safe Drinking Water Act. This collection of models and examples represent the experiences and lessons learned by each state. These best practices can result in increased efficiency, cost savings and improved effectiveness. The fact sheets were developed by the State/EPA Program Collaboration Workgroup (2011).
- Program Collaboration: Using Teamwork and Program Staff Expertise and Authority to Assist Small Systems (PDF) (15 pp, 840K) (EPA 816-F-12-006, October 2012) Features creative, practical collaboration among state programs to effectively assist small systems with compliance challenges.
- Funding Collaboration: Maximizing the Impact of Project Funding to Increase Compliance and Enhance Public Health (PDF) (18 pp, 1MB) (EPA 816-F-12-007, October 2012) Highlighting innovative approaches to funding drinking water infrastructure projects through coordination and careful targeting of funding sources to derive the most benefit for each dollar spent.
- Capacity Development & Operator Certification Collaboration: An Essential Partnership to Promote Small System Capacity (PDF) (9 pp, 520K) (EPA 816-F-12-008, October 2012) Featuring collaborative activities between the Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs to help determine gaps in operator skills and knowledge, promote operator training and improve system performance.
- Assessing Water System Managerial Capacity (PDF) (34 pp, 341K)
(EPA 816-K-12-004, March 2012) This document was developed by the Managerial Capacity Workgroup (January 2011-December 2011) for state Capacity Development Coordinators seeking ideas for assessing managerial capacity as part of water system capacity.
- State Programs to Ensure Demonstration of Technical, Managerial and Financial Capacity of New Water Systems (PDF) (138 pp, 819K)(EPA 816-R-01-018, July 2001) A comparative summary of innovative state programs to ensure that new water systems have adequate capacity.
- Analysis of the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting System Sustainability (PDF) (104 pp, 3MB)(EPA 816-R-10-016, October 2010) This analysis highlights activities that were financed by Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) set-asides to promote capacity development efforts in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2008.
- Analysis on the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting Capacity Development (PDF) (120 pp, 3MB)(EPA 816-R-06-004, December 2007) The purpose of this document is to identify the multiple uses of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) set-asides in promoting capacity development efforts.
- Improving Security through Capacity Development: Capacity Self-Assessments (PDF) (12 pp, 3MB)
(EPA 816-F-05-008, November 2007) A guide to the relationship between security and capacity development and to using existing tools to help address small system security needs.
- Using Technical, Managerial, and Financial Capacity to Improve System Security—Suggestions for States (PDF) (2 pp, 217K)(EPA 816-F-07-010, November 2007) Key considerations on integrating capacity development programs and security-related activities, and security-related resources for small water systems.
- Public Water System Historical Significant Non-Compliers: National Trends Report PDF (28 pp, 4MB)
(EPA 816-R-10-015, October 2010) This report summarizes over 10 years of Historical Significant Non-Complier (HSNC) trends nationwide in four time periods: 1997-1999, 2000-2002, 2003-2005 and 2006-2008.
History of the Capacity Development Program
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 became law on August 6, 1996. Capacity development under the 1996 Amendments has three major components outlined in the table below:
|Section 1420(a) New Systems||Under penalty of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) withholding, States must have a program established to "ensure that all new community water systems and nontransient, noncommunity water systems commencing operations after October 1, 1999 demonstrate technical, managerial, and financial capacity with respect to each national primary drinking water regulation in effect, or likely to be in effect, on the date of commencement of operations."|
|Section 1420(c) State Capacity Development Strategies||Under penalty of DWSRF withholding, the State must develop and implement a "strategy to assist public water systems in acquiring and maintaining technical, managerial, and financial capacity."|
|Section 1452(a)(3) Assessment of Capacity||
|However, States may provide assistance if
- Final Report of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council Small Systems Implementation Working Group (PDF) (55 pp, 118K)(EPA 816-R-00-012, April 2000)
Findings of the working group, established in 1997 to evaluate the challenges facing small systems and the strategic options for providing capacity development assistance.
- Visit EPA's 1996 SDWA Amendments page for background information and the full text and summaries of the Amendments, which brought small systems and capacity development into focus.