The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 (SDWA) requires states to incorporate technical, managerial, and financial (TMF) capacity into public water system operations. This requirement helps ensure that public water systems have long-term sustainability and are able to maintain compliance with all applicable drinking water laws and regulations.
The federal SDWA Amendments were signed into law in part because of the significant problems that small public water systems (SWS) had in providing safe, reliable drinking water to their customers. It included mandates to the states to prevent new non-viable systems. It also mandated the development and implementation of a comprehensive capacity development strategy to assist public water systems in obtaining adequate capacity.
In 1997 Senate Bill (SB) 1307 became law, enabling California to implement the provisions of the federal SDWA. This statute established a financial assistance program, entitled the DWSRF, which included a comprehensive technical assistance program for small systems. In order to help ensure the provision of safe, reliable drinking water to customers on a long term basis, this legislation was designed to prevent the formation of a new public water system or the approval of a public water system change of ownership unless that system is determined by the State to have adequate TMF capacity.
Technical Assistance (TA) funding is available to help small (less than 10,000 people) disadvantaged (median household income [MHI] < 80% statewide MHI) communities (small DACs) develop, fund, and implement eligible drinking water, wastewater, storm water, or groundwater capital improvement projects. TA may include project coordination and development, legal assistance, engineering and environmental analysis, and/or leak detection/water audits.
Assistance with more general drinking water and wastewater capacity development needs outside the context of capital project development (e.g., compliance audits, rate studies and board or operator training) may be available for public water systems or wastewater systems through other TA programs.
Complete this Request for TA Form and email it to DFA-TArequest@waterboards.ca.gov.
For questions regarding technical assistance, please contact Kim Dinh at: Kim.Dinh@waterboards.ca.gov or (916) 341-5729.
In California, a TMF Assessment must be completed by public water systems that are applicants for funding, new water systems applying for a permit, or water systems changing ownership. Use the TMF Instructions document as a reference when completing the TMF Assessment.
If the water system in question is a Nontransient Non-Community system or a Community system that serves less than 10,000 people, please complete the standard TMF Assessment form. If the water system serves more than 10,000 people, please complete the alternative TMF Assessment form.
For Transient Non-Community water systems, consider the following four questions:
- Is the source from a well or enclosed spring, untreated and on property owned by the system?
- Does the system have a single owner or sole proprietor?
- Is the owner responsible for all aspects of the water system?
- Does the system have an "expense only" budget? (You do not charge for the water that you provide).
If the answer to all of the above questions for Transient Non-Community water systems is "Yes", please complete the TMF Capacity Assessment "E-Z" form. If the answer to any of the four questions is no or if you are a Nontransient Non-Community water system, please fill out the standard TMF Assessment form
For assistance in completing certain TMF elements, please see the following resources:
- Sample ERP Small Water Systems (Word) and Sample ERP Small Water Systems (PDF)
- Sample Operations Plan
- Templates for Public Notification
- Typical Equipment Life Expectancy
- Sample 5-Year Budget Projection/Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
- Sample 5-Year Budget Projection/Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) - Expense Only
- Sample 5-Year Budget Projection/Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) - Large Community
For more drinking water-related information, see the links at Public Drinking Water Systems and Small Water Systems - Technical Support Unit. To evaluate a public water system's TMF capacity and resources to help build TMF capacity, go to the TMF Tune-Up.
Other Resources Include:
- Small Water Systems Security Information
- Basic Small Water System Operations Book
- Check Up Program for Small Systems (CUPSS)
- California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) - Office of Water Programs
- American Water Works Association (AWWA), California-Nevada Section
Annual Capacity Development Program Implementation Report to United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA):
Capacity Development Program
Report to the
For more information, contact:
Betsy Lichti, P.E.
Chief, Quality Assurance Section
Phone: (916) 322-9598
Division of Drinking Water
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street., 17th Floor
Sacramento, CA 94244-2120