United States
              Environmental Protection
             Office of Water
July 2001
Building Water
System  Capacity:
A Guide For Tribal
              Capacity Development:
               The process through which drinking water systems
               acquire and maintain the technical, managerial,
               and financial capabilities to consistently provide
               safe drinking water.

          What   Is   Capacity

 Capacity—means a system has the technical, managerial, and
financial capabilities to consistently deliver safe and adequate water,
 Capacity development—refers to an increase in a system's ability to
provide safe and reliable drinking water to its customers,
 Capacity development—is an on-going process of trying to find more efficient
 ways of running and operating a system while planning for the long-term.
  Capacity development has three interrelated components:

  Technical capacity is the physical and operational ability of a water system to meet Safe Drinking
  Water Act (SDWA) requirements. It refers to the physical, or infrastructure components of the water
  system, including the characteristics of the source water, the adequacy of treatment, and the condition
  of the pump, treatment, storage, and distribution systems.  Technical capacity also refers to the
  technical knowledge and capability of system personnel to properly operate and maintain the system.

  Managerial capacity is the ability of the system to conduct its affairs in a manner which allows it to
  achieve and maintain compliance with SDWA requirements. It refers to  the overall organizational struc-
  ture of the system. A system with adequate managerial capacity has a clearly identified owner who is
  accountable for the system. The staffing and organization of the system allows the efficient use of
  human resources and assigns clear authorities and responsibilities between the Tribal Council or
  Chairman, managers, operators and customers. Further, the system enjoys effective linkages to
  people and organizations that can provide help in case of need.

  Financial capacity means the system has the ability to acquire and manage sufficient funds to
  achieve and maintain compliance with SDWA requirements. A system with adequate financial capacity
  will have the revenue sufficiency to cover all costs—even if there is no charge for water—and will
  invest in infrastructure replacement. It will have the credit worthiness to allow the system to borrow
  money, and will use established fiscal management and controls to keep track of payments and receipts.

Building   Capacity
          O     O
       Fiscal Management
       and Controls and
       Credit Worthiness
       Sound financial management
       allows a system to maintain effi-
       cient and effective water system
       operations. Adequate fiscal
       controls, such as following estab-
       lished accounting principals, will
       help with budgeting, financial plan-
       ning, and revenue management. It
       is also important for systems to
       establish a good credit history. A
       system that is credit worthy will be
       able to borrow money for unex-
       pected repairs, replacements, or
       other costs.
Clear identification of system own-
ers and operators—whether tribal,
IMS or private—and their roles and
responsibilities can help prevent
confusion, mistakes, and misun-
derstandings in the daily operation
and management of the system.
The accountability of the owner is
essential for a water system to
conduct its affairs effectively.

       Water Source
Source Water
Systems must have a safe, reliable,
and protected source of supply to
conform with drinking water regula-
tions over the long term. Systems
should locate and use high-quality
sources whenever possible, protect
them from potential contamination,
and determine whether they can
supply a sufficient quantity of water
on an on-going basis.

Staffing and
Water system staff must know how to
manage effectively all aspects of a
water system.  Managers must
understand the system's operation,
know about  regulatory requirements,
and oversee compliance activities in
order for the system to provide safe
and reliable  drinking water. The staff
must be organized in a way to
ensure  efficient operation of the sys-
tem. There  must be clear duties and
responsibilities assigned to each
manager and operator to prevent
duplication of effort and tasks failing
to be  completed.  It is also critical
that system  personnel have the
proper licenses and certifications to
legally run the water system.

the proper certification to operate
their utility.  Further, the system
should have an operation and
maintenance program, along with
proper emergency response
procedures, to prevent deterioration
of the system and protect their
customers'  health in times of crisis.
System infrastructure needs to be
repaired and replaced as it ages.
Failure to replace deteriorating sys-
tem components or facilities can
threaten the quality and safety of the
water supply and pose a risk to pub-
lic health.  Treatment must be suffi-
cient to remove the contaminants
found in a system's source water.
Water storage tanks must be
Technical Knowledge
On-going training and education are
important to ensure that managers
and operators stay current on all water
system requirements and can effect-
ively implement these requirements
to provide safe drinking water to their
customers.  System operators should be
knowledgeable of all the relevant
contaminants and treatment techniques
for their systems, and should have
maintained in good condition to
prevent contaminants such as
dirt, birds, and small animals from
entering the system.  It is also
important to keep the distribution
lines in good condition to prevent
contamination through leaks or
breaks. By planning for future
needs, the system can reduce  the
possibility of facing unexpected costs
that the system cannot afford.
Revenue Efficiency
A positive net income (i.e. having
enough revenue to cover all
costs) is a good indicator of
financial capacity. To develop and
maintain a positive net income,
systems may need to increase
revenues, reduce costs, or both.
Effective Linkages
Water systems need to interact
regularly with their customers and
regulators. System personnel also
need to know where to get techni-
cal or financial help. Building rela-
tionships with assistance
providers, regulators, and water
users will increase a system's
ability to solve problems as they
occur.  Informed customers can
become the best support of a
public water system.

    Why Capacity  Development Should  Be
Important To Tribal  Drinking Water  Systems
                       Public Health Protection
                     \  Customers rely on their water system to provide safe water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, and
                      j   cooking. A poorly operated system, or a system with physical deficiencies, may allow bacteria,
                         viruses, or chemicals to enter. This may cause serious health problems for customers. A sys-
                       tem that achieves and maintains capacity will be better able to protect public health by keeping
                      problems from turning into public health hazards and responding quickly and effectively to
                    emergencies. Also, a system with capacity will be able to comply with the drinking water regulations,
                  protecting public health by consistently providing safe drinking water.
                         The focus is on the
                          future. Capacity develop-
                          ment represents an opportu-
                         nity for Tribes to head in a
                       new direction to improve Tribal
                    drinking water systems. A water sys-
               tem with capacity solves today's issues with
            an eye towards the future, thereby reducing the
        occurrence of serious problems.
       increases funding opportunities. Systems
       with capacity may be eligible for low-or no-cost
       loans from the state in which the system is located,
       or for direct grants from their EPA regional office
       and other federal programs.
          Tribes stand to gain more
          control of their water
         programs. Through capacity
       development, Tribes can gain more control
      over their drinking water. By developing their
     capacity, Tribes can obtain the necessary
    resources to manage and operate water systems
    effectively, thereby preparing them to assume
    administrative and supervisory responsibilities
   similar to those of state programs.
                  development pro-
motes dependable operation of the sys-
tem.  Systems with adequate capacity are bet-
ter able to handle emergencies and unexpected
costs, and are able to consistently supply safe
and adequate drinking water.

For  More   Information,  Contact:
U.S. EPA Headquarters
    American Indian Environmental Office      (202) 260-7939       http://www.epa.gov/indian/

    Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water    (202) 564-3750       http://www.epa.gov/safewater/

         Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 1-800-426-4791 or e-mail: hotline-sdwa@epa.gov

U.S. EPA Regional Tribal Capacity Development Coordinators	

    Region  1    (617)918-1111    http://www.epa.gov/region01/eco/drinkwater/index.html

    Region  2    (212) 637-3600   http://www.epa.gov/region02/nations/indian1.htm

    Region  4    (404) 562-9900   http://www.epa.gov/region4/ead/GovPartners/tribal.htm

    Region  5    (312) 353-2000   http://www.epa.gov/r5water/sdw/dwwedo4.htm

    Region  6    (214) 665-6444   http://www.epa.gov/region06/6xa/tribal.htm

    Region  7    (913) 551-7030   http://www.epa.gov/region07/programs/wwpd/dwgwhome/dwgw.html

    Regions    (303)312-6312   http://www.epa.gov/region08/tribes

    Region  9    (415) 744-1500   http://www.epa.gov/region09/cross_pr/indian/index.html

    Region  10   (206) 553-1200   http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/tribal.NSF/webpage/tribal+office+homepage?opendocument
Additional Contacts
    Administration of Native Americans      (202) 690-7776
    Bureau of Indian Affairs                (202) 208-3710
    Bureau of Reclamation                (202) 513-0615
    Indian Health Service                  (301) 443-3593
    National Rural Water Association        (800) 332-8715
    Rural Community Assistance Program    (202) 408-1273
    Rural Utilities Services
(202) 720-9540
                    http ://www. n rwa.org/
                    http ://www. reap, org