Sustainable Management of Rural and Small Systems Workshop
Sustainable Management of Rural and Small Systems Workshop Team Exercise Workshop Our Schedule Welcome and Introductions Workshop Objectives Key Management Areas Self Assessment Exercise
Lunch Improving Outcomes Practices, Tools, and Measures Creating an Action Plan 2 Workshop Objectives Learn about key utility management areas Engage in a self-assessment process Discuss tools, tips, and measures for performance improvement Exchange insights and tips with other local utilities
Begin to create an action plan for moving forward 3 Overview of the Ten Key Management Areas Outcomes that well-managed utilities strive for Common Challenges for Utility Managers
Aging infrastructure Rate issues Prioritize demands for utility expenditures Long-term rate adequacy strategy Customer satisfaction and confidence with services and rates 5 Common Challenges for Utility Managers
Operational issues Labor and material costs Regulatory compliance and new requirements Workforce complexities Attracting and keeping reliable and competent staff Succession planning Knowledgeable and engaged board members 6
The Well-Managed Utility Ten Management Areas framed as outcomes Building blocks for utility performance improvement: where to focus and what to strive for Most water and wastewater utilities pay attention to these areas and likely perform well in at least some of them Fit into, draw on, and support asset management, long-term business planning, continual improvement management systems 7
The Ten Key Management Areas Product Quality Customer Satisfaction Infrastructure Stability Community Sustainability & Economic Development Stakeholder Understanding and Support Employee and Leadership
Development Operational Optimization Energy and Water Efficiency Operational Resiliency Water Resource Adequacy Financial Viability 8 Product Quality Clean and safe water
Produce potable water, treated effluent, and process residuals/recovered resources: Full compliance with regulatory and reliability requirements Consistent with customer, public health, and ecological needs Consistent with local economic development and business needs and opportunities 9 Customer Satisfaction Know what your customers expect in service, water quality, and rates
Set goals to meet these expectations Help your customers understand the value of water Develop a way to gather feedback from your customers, review the feedback, and then act on it 10 Employee & Leadership Development Enable a workforce that is competent, motivated, adaptive, and safe working
Ensure employee institutional knowledge is retained and improved on over time Create opportunities for professional and leadership development 11 Operational Optimization Ensure ongoing, timely, cost-effective, and reliable performance improvements in all facets of operations (i.e., continual improvement culture) Minimize resource use, loss, and impacts from day-to-day operations
(e.g., energy and chemical use, water loss) Maintain awareness of information and operational technology developments to anticipate and support timely adoption of improvements 12 Financial Viability Ensure revenues adequate to recover costs, fund timely maintenance, repair, and replacement of assets, and provide for reserves Establish predictable rates, consistent with community expectations
and acceptability discuss rate requirements with customers, board members, and other key stakeholders 13 Infrastructure Stability Understand costs and condition for each system component Understand operational performance factors (e.g., pressure) Plan for system component repair and replacement over the longterm at the lowest possible cost Coordinate asset repair, rehabilitation, and replacement within the community to minimize disruptions and other negative consequences
14 Operational Resiliency Identify threats to the system (legal, financial, non-compliance, environmental, safety, security, and natural disaster) conduct all hazards vulnerability assessment Establish acceptable risk levels that support system reliability goals Identify how you will manage risks and plan response actions prepare all-hazards emergency response plan
15 Community Sustainability & Economic Development Be active in your community Be aware of, or participate in, discussions of community and economic development Get to know local business needs and be aware of opportunities for new residential or business customers Align Utility Goals: to be attentive to the impacts utility decisions will
have on current and future community and watershed health Align Utility Goals: to promote community economic vitality and overall improvement 16 Water Resource Adequacy Ensure water availability consistent with current and future customer needs: Long-term resource supply and demand analysis Conservation
Public education Understand the system role in water availability Manage operations to provide for long-term aquifer and surface water sustainability and replenishment 17 Stakeholder Understanding & Support Create understanding and support from oversight bodies, community
and watershed interests, and regulatory bodies: Service levels Rate structures Operating budgets Capital improvement programs
Risk management decisions Actively engage with the community and customers: Understand needs and interests Promote the value of clean and safe water 18 The Self-Assessment Exercise Time to go to work!
Getting Started Step 1: RATE your systems level of achievement (practice and performance) for each management area Step 2: RANK the importance of each area Step 3: PLOT the results Step 4: IMPROVE by exploring high achievement-related practices 20 STEP 1: Rating Areas
Scale from LOW to HIGH achievement Select Low if your system has no workable practices in place for addressing this area very low capacity and performance. Select Medium if your system has some workable practices in place with moderate achievement, but could improve some capacity in place. Select High if your system has effective, standardized, and accepted practices in place. It either usually or consistently achieves goals capacity is high and in need of very little or no further development. 21
STEP 2: Ranking Areas Scale from LOW to HIGH priority Current or expected challenges Customer or stakeholder impact: reliability; quality; timeliness Consequences of not improving: compliance; cost; credibility; health; safety Urgency near or long term need Community priorities
22 STEPS 1 & 2: Rating and Ranking Areas Self-Assessment Demonstration 23 STEP 3: Plotting Results Self-Assessment Demonstration
24 STEPS 3 & 4: Plotting Results and Focusing Attention Self-Assessment Demonstration 25 Self-Assessment Discussion Questions Where is your utility strong? Why?
Where is there the most room for improvement? Why? What are your areas of focus? Why are they a priority? Why is performance low? Technical capacity? Financial capacity? Managerial capacity? What are the commonalities and differences among table participants? 26
Improving Outcomes Creating a Plan, Taking Action, Measuring Results Table Activity Each team group completes an improvement worksheet for one low achievement/high priority management area Share perspectives on:
What will constitute high achievement in this management area? What changes will the utility need to make to improve performance? How could you track your performance progress? What will be the biggest challenges to performance improvement? 28 Tools, Guides, and Other Resources
Resources Available for Your Use Improving Outcomes: Additional Resources Extensive Compilation of Tools and Resources Excel Print Out in Your Packet Electronically Available on EPA and USDAs websites Organized by Key Management Areas Covers Resources from NRWA, USDA, EPA, RCAP, AWWA, WEF and others
Supplemental to Locally Available Technical Assistance and Resources 30 Tools and Resources Demonstration 31 Resource Highlights Three (Typically High Priority) Management Areas Operational Optimization Water/Energy Efficiency
Financial Viability Stakeholder Understanding and Support Areas Typically of High Interest to Utility Managers and The Backbone of A Sustainably Managed System 32 Operational Optimization Water/Energy Efficiency EPA: Check Up Program for Small
System (CUPSS) Free Asset Management Tool for Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities Tips on How to Develop a Record of Your Assets, an Understanding of Your Financial Situation, and a Tailored Asset Management Plan 33 Operational Optimization
Water/Energy Efficiency EPA: Energy Use Tool for Water and Wastewater Systems Interactive, Excel-based tool Detailed Analysis of All Energy Types Provides Summary Report: Statement of Energy Performance 34
Operational Optimization Water/Energy Efficiency RCAP: Sustainable Infrastructure for Small System Public Services: A Planning and Resource Guide Water Conservation Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy
35 Financial Viability NRWA: Revolving Loan Fund Established Under Grant from USDA/RUS Financing for Pre-Development Costs Also Available for Equipment Replacement and Service Extension
36 Financial Viability EPA: Setting Small Drinking Water System Rates for a Sustainable Future Determining Revenue Needs Setting Rate Design Approaching Rate Implementation 37
Financial Viability RCAP: The Basics of Financial Management for Small-community Utilities Understanding Financial Statements Using Financial Ratios 38
Stakeholder Understanding and Support NRWA: Quality on Tap! Nationwide, Grassroots Campaign for Public Awareness Hands On Guide to Engagement and Communication for Better Community Support 39
Stakeholder Understanding and Support EPA: Talking to Your Decision Makers A Best Practices Guide Role of Community Decision Makers in Small Systems Tips on How to Communicate Needs to Decision Makers 40
Stakeholder Understanding and Support RCAP: The Big Guide for Small Systems: A Resource for Board Members Water and Wastewater Treatment Basics Regulatory Responsibilities Board Business Financial Duties and Responsibilities 41
Tips from Previous Improving Outcomes Exercises Key management areas selected and discussed at previous workshops: Stakeholder Understanding and Support
Infrastructure Stability Financial Viability Employee and Leadership Development Operational Resiliency 42 Stakeholder Understanding and Support High Achievement: Capital improvement plan or other document that summarizes utility
priorities and can be shared with utility board Establish standard operating procedures for utility staff that address communication Changes Needed: Educate stakeholders about utility needs Create ongoing opportunities for stakeholders and utility to interact (e.g., tours of facility) 43
Infrastructure Stability High Achievement: Capital improvement plan Inventory of system components, location, installation date, and condition Understanding of system operating parameters (e.g., pressure) Changes Needed: Making time to support an incremental approach (e.g., maintenance and repair driven) Ability to do smaller projects and upgrades annually
44 Financial Viability High Achievement: Funds set aside for reserves Asset management plans, short and long term plans, and quarterly budget reviews Utility board is knowledgeable about financial issues and system maintenance and repairs Changes Needed:
Good practices in place for rates and shut-offs Better communication between elected officials, utility staff and consumer Independent rate study Document priorities for system improvements 45
Employee and Leadership Development High Achievement: Written job descriptions Clear performance expectations Staff are cross-trained Changes Needed: Develop neighboring system relationships for staff to learn from each other Create merit-based initiatives to reward high performance (e.g., additional leave days, recognition, monetary awards)
46 Operational Resiliency High Achievement: Emergency response plans, operations plans, shut-off checklists for equipment Drill emergency response plan Certify staff and board members Changes Needed:
Ensure staff and board know where all emergency documentation is kept Have contractor support lined up in case of emergency 47 Creating an Action Plan Where do we go from here? Creating our Action Agenda Has the supplemental information helped you identify additional actions we can take to improve in our high priority Management
Areas? Are there specific resources that you think we should focus on as we begin to further explore improvement opportunities? What should be our immediate next steps and what role can each of us play in moving forward to explore and implement improvement opportunities? 49 Action Plan Worksheet
50 Action Plan Worksheet Step 1: Fill out your top three priority management areas from the Self Assessment exercise 51 Action Plan Worksheet
Step 2: Choose an action that you could take to make improvements in one of your Priority Management Areas 52 Action Plan Worksheet Step 3: Complete the fields below to describe what is needed to complete
your Improvement Action 53 For Example... 54 Lets Get to Work!
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