Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2015 - (Page 19)

BUILDING CAPACITY AND SUSTAINABILITY Assisting Utilities through Sustainable Management Initiative t BY MATT HOLMES, DEPUTY CEO, NRWA The National Rural Water Association has long recognized the value of educating utilities on planning for future long-term stability and growth. Many small water and wastewater utility systems throughout this country struggle with various issues, which may include aging or inadequate infrastructure, difficulties recruiting or retaining qualified staff, growing or establishing financial reserves, and setting rates that are reflective of their operational costs. "The key management areas that need attention are always different among the classes, but there is always a common thread: financial viability," said Kathy Weinsaft, Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems' lead instructor, who has taught several of these workshops. Effectively managing all of these aspects is critical to ensuring their longterm sustainability and growth and to keep the communities strong, safe and sustainable. State rural water associations have begun utilizing the Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management in conjunction with the companion training resource Workshop in a Box to deliver effective utility management training to water and wastewater system personnel. These two resources were developed under a memorandum of agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture in an effort to enhance the sustainability of rural and small communities. The Guidebook is designed to introduce rural and small water and wastewater systems to 10 key management areas of effectively managed systems, as well as instructions and assistance on how to conduct a system assessment. It also includes information on how to prioritize areas of improvement, while developing measures of progress that can improve system performance. Weinsaft recently held a workshop where 28 participants attended, representing 25 rural and small drinking water systems. Participants consisted of operations specialists, contract operators, consulting engineers, clerks, mayors and board and council members. "All decision makers should be made to go through training like this one," said one participant, a water system superintendent with more than 30 years' experience. There are two main types of workshop formats: the Multisystem Workshop and RURAL WATER 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2015

From The President
State Specialists Lead Efforts to Protect Community Drinking Water
Energy Efficiency 101
Assisting Utilities through Sustainable Management Initiative
Technology Update: Cyber Threats Not Limited to Large Retailers and Health Insurers
Making Connections
The Rural Water Loan Fund
USDA Rural Development
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2015