Water Associations, EPA Release Tools for Effective Utility Management Practices

June 25, 2008
Series of tools aim to help utilities advance effective management practices to achieve long-term sustainability

Six associations representing the U.S. water and wastewater sector, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have released a series of tools designed to help water and wastewater utilities advance effective management practices to achieve long-term sustainability. The tools are based on the 10 attributes of effectively managed utilities and five keys to management success first identified in a report released by the group in May 2007.

Since the release of the “Findings and Recommendations for a Water Utility Sector Management Strategy” report last year, the Effective Utility Management Collaborating Associations—the American Public Works Association (APWA), American Water Works Association (AWWA), Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and EPA—have been working together to develop tools aimed at helping utilities assess their current operations and adopt best management strategies for improvement.

“These tools were developed by utility mangers for utility managers,” said WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera. “The Water Environment Federation is very gratified to have been part of this important effort.”

Of the collaboration between the associations, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles commented that he considers it “to be one of the Agency's most important accomplishments under our Sustainable Water Infrastructure Initiative,” and “appreciates the water associations and utility advisors for their continuing leadership.”

The tools now available include the “Effective Utility Management Primer for Water and Wastewater Utilities,” which is designed to help water and wastewater utility managers make practical, systematic changes to achieve excellence in utility performance. It was produced by water and wastewater utility leaders who also developed a series of suggested utility performance measures focused on the attributes to help utilities establish a performance baseline and begin to measure their progress. Finally, the group is releasing an online resource toolbox that contains links to key resources and tools. The new primer can be downloaded at no charge from each of the associations’ websites or at www.watereum.org.

“Effective management allows water utilities to successfully address challenges on many fronts,” said AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei. “The practical nature of these tools recommends them to utility managers dealing with issues ranging from water quality and resource adequacy to infrastructure stability and financial viability.” AWWA Executive Director Gary Zimmerman added that, “water professionals share a sense of duty to be both effective and efficient,” and believes that “these new tools will help them excel at their work for the benefit of their customers.” Recognizing the importance of knowledge sharing to address current and future challenges, APWA Executive Director Peter B. King noted that the educational initiative was designed to be a peer-to-peer effort that “will benefit public works agencies nationwide.”