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Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Water System Partnerships

Small systems face unique challenges in providing affordable drinking water that meets federal and state regulations. These challenges include aging infrastructure, increasing costs and declining rate bases, and limited technical and managerial capabilities. Water systems can overcome these challenges by developing partnerships with other systems.

Partnerships provide opportunities to collaborate on compliance solutions and operations and maintenance activities and to share costs with other nearby systems This increases capacity and enables systems to provide safe and affordable water to their communities.

Partnerships can range from informal arrangements, like sharing equipment with another water system, to more complex arrangements like sharing management with another water system. This may involve changes to the operational, managerial, or institutional structure of a water system. When considering a partnership with another water system, it is important to evaluate:

  • Available partnership options
  • Which options ensure long-term compliance and financial stability
  • Associated costs

Webinar Series on System Partnerships

U.S. EPA-U.S. Department of Agriculture Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) – Promoting Sustainable Rural Water and Wastewater Systems (5 pp, 315 K, About PDF) - As part of the MOA, the two agencies collaborated on a four-part webinar series to promote system partnerships:


Additional Resources