Electronic Annual Report
The electronic Annual Report (eAR) is a survey of public water systems, currently required annually, to collect critical water system information intended to assess the status of compliance with specific regulatory requirements such as source water capacity, provides updated contact and inventory information (such as population and number of service connections), and provides information that is used to assess the financial capacity of water systems, among other information reported. The areas for which information is required to be reported is listed in the Log-in & Reporting Information section.
The State Water Board has issued a Technical Reporting Order (January 2024) to all public water systems.
Water System Reporters - Where to Access the Report
Our electronic Annual Reporting (eAR) System is the method used to collect the critical water system information that must be reported to the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water annually.
|Section 1. Introduction
|Provides water system information (e.g., System Number, Name, Classification, Ownership, assigned Regulating Agency) and physical location; Reporter starting EAR contact information; Disadvantaged (DAC) status request or recertification for reduced annual fees
|Section 2. Contacts
|Maintain name, title, address, phone and email for various point of contact types
|Section 3. Population
|Update population and annual operating period
|Section 4. Connections
|Update service connection counts by types and metering status; Urban Water Supplier (UWS) outdoor irrigation connections or indoor submeters
|Section 5. Sources
|Large Water System (LWS) source counts or Small Water System (SWS) source list by type (SWS and NC); Standby Source activity; Interties; Source Metering and Levels Monitoring
|Section 6. Water Supplied and Delivered
|This section has been removed from the eAR and was relocated into the SAFER Clearinghouse. Water Supplied and Delivered data is still required under the Technical Reporting Order. For questions about this section, please email: Clearinghouse-Reporting@waterboards.ca.gov
Note: If you do not have a SAFER Clearinghouse account, you will need to create one.
|Section 7. Recycled Water
|Recycled Water (RW) number of use sites, RW Coordinator name; Pressure tests, and on-site supervision status
|Section 8a. Customer Charges
|Residential and non-residential customer charges, rate structures, and other service fees borne by customers to support the water system.
|Section 8b. Income
|Annual revenues and incurred expenses. This information is used to assess the financial resiliency of water systems.
|Section 8c. Water Affordability
|Information, if any, on customer assistance programs designed to address customer affordability challenges.
|Section 9. Water Quality
|Bacteriological Sample Siting Plan (BSSP) status; Emergency Notification Plan (ENP) status; Emergency Disinfection Plan (EDP) status; Watershed Sanitary Survey Report status; and Consumer Confidence Report status
|Section 10. Backflow
|Status of testing and surveying backflow prevention assemblies; Cross Connection Control Program Coordinator name
|Section 11. Operator Certification
|Distribution System (DS) Operator compliance; Treatment Plant (TP) Operator compliance; subsections including grid of operators with their certification number and expiration date.
|Section 12. Improvements
|Improvements and modifications to treatment or distribution system completed in reporting year or future.
|Section 13. Complaints
|Summary of complaints reported by customers, investigated by Water System, and reported to DDW or LPAs; Complaint Descriptions by Type
|Section 14. Treatment
|Lists of groundwater and surface water treatment plants, excluding chlorination only, treatment process, date of operations plan, and contaminant removed; grouped chlorinating only treatment plant operations plan compliance; Emergency Disinfection Plan and Watershed Sanitary Survey status.
|Section 15. Distribution
|Summaries of system problems; infrastructure and pipeline materials; dead-end flushing; flushing volumes; valve exercise program; storage tanks or reservoir inspection and cleaning program status.
|Section 16. Emergency
|Auxiliary Power Supply; Ability to meet continuous power supply and funding gaps or schedule; Emergency Response Plans (ERP); interest in water partnerships or consolidation.
|Section 17. Conservation (Updated)
|Drought Preparedness or Water Shortage Contingency Plan; Water Shortage Reporting; Urban Water Supplier (UWS) Conservation Program information; Potable reuse incentive.
|Section 18. Climate Change
|Climate Threats, Sensitivity, and Magnitude of Impacts; Adaptation Measures
|Acknowledge and Finalize
|Reporter(s) eAR error report; Report Disclosure; Number of Hours; Reporter submittingeAR contact information.
History of the Annual Report
The "Annual Report to the Drinking Water Program" was started in the mid-1980's as a hard copy report submitted to the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) district offices. The DDW field staff and local primacy agencies (LPAs) require the annual report per Section 116530 Health & Safety Code and have used this information in the conduct of sanitary surveys of public water systems. In 2009, the Annual Report moved online where it was dubbed the electronic Annual Report (eAR). There was a Large Water System and Small Water System survey, based on system size at the cutoff of 1,000 service connections or 3,300 population. The next 11 years, eARs were developed for release to public water systems and field office staff tasked for review. In 2020, the Water Board redeveloped the eAR onto a new reporting platform offering advancements in customization and performance.
In addition to the Division of Drinking Water field staff and County LPA representatives, the eAR serves as a platform for information gathering from public water systems to the Water Board.
Drivers of eAR data collection:
- Recommendations for Implementation of a Statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program (Assembly Bill 401): Report submitted to the Legislature on February 25, 2020
- Safe Drinking Water (SAFER) utilize the data for drinking water risk indicators and more
- Needs Assessment (Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program)
- Open Data Portal publication of specific eAR data sets related to drinking water
- Water shutoff reporting under SB 998
- Urban Water Supplier Water Conservation: Production Reporting
- Water Loss Control
- Climate Resiliency visualizations
- Safe Drinking Water Plan
- Drought Planning for small water suppliers and rural communities under SB 552
- Division of Administrative Services (DAS) utilizes eAR information for fee billing
- Division of Financial Assistance (DFA) uses the information in the Operator Certification Unit
- Office of Research, Performance, and Planning (ORPP) use the eAR information for implementation of Water Efficiency Legislation AB 1668 and SB 606 (2018)
Users of eAR data:
- Development of the California Water Plan
- Urban Water Management Plan
- The Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA)
- SGMA Groundwater Management
- Drought Risk Index - County Drought Advisory Group or CDAG Project
Appendix 2. Drought and Water Shortage Risk Scoring
- DWR Public Water Systems Statistics Surveys
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Legal Authorities to Require electronic Annual Reporting Include but Are Not Limited To:
California Health and Safety Code, Section 116530:
(a) A public water system shall submit a technical report to the state board as part of the permit application or when otherwise required by the state board. This report may include, but not be limited to, detailed plans and specifications, water quality information, physical descriptions of the existing or proposed system, information related to technical, managerial, and financial capacity and sustainability, and information related to achieving the goals of Section 106.3 of the Water Code, including affordability and accessibility.
(b) A public water system shall submit the report in the form and format and at intervals specified by the State Board.
California Health and Safety Code, Section 116355:
(b)(9) An analysis of the current cost of drinking water paid by residential, business, and industrial consumers based on a statewide survey of large, medium, and small public water systems.
California Health and Safety Code, Section 116885:
(a) By July 1, 2018, a community water system shall compile an inventory of known lead user service lines in use in its distribution system and identify areas that may have lead user service lines in use in its distribution system.
(b) By July 1, 2020, a community water system that has identified known lead user service lines in use in its distribution system as provided in subdivision (a) shall provide a timeline for replacement of known lead user service lines in use in its distribution system to the state board.
California Health and Safety Code, Section 116918:
An urban and community water system shall report the number of annual discontinuations of residential service for inability to pay on the urban and community water system’s Internet Web site, if an Internet Web site exists, and to the board. The board shall post on its Internet Web site the information reported.
Water Code, Section 10609.61:
A small water supplier and a nontransient noncommunity water system that is a school shall each report annually water supply condition information to the state board through the state board’s Electronic Annual Reporting (eAR) System or other reporting tool, as directed by the state board.
- eAR User Guidance Document
- Refer to your Help Tips in the eAR report denoted by a icon or list of Help Tips
- Reporter Training Brown Bag Recordings & PowerPoint Slides
- Procedure Documents
- Tutorial Videos
- Section 9.C - Water Quality
- How to upload an Excel spreadsheet of your water system's direct chemical additives – Coming Soon
- Section 11.A&B - Certification
- How to download, update, and/or upload an Excel spreadsheet of your water system's certified distribution and treatment operators – Coming Soon
- Section 15.E - Distribution and Storage
- Section 9.C - Water Quality
To assist water systems in completing the eAR, water systems are encouraged to reach out to your DDW District or County Local Primacy Agency (LPA). Contact information for the DDW Districts and LPAs are provided below:
Request Technical Assistance from the State Water Board
Online Application for Technical Assistance with the eAR are due March 1, 2024.
Alternatively, applicants may submit a PDF version of the Technical Assistance Application via email to DFA-TArequest@waterboards.ca.gov
The State Water Board offers assistance for water systems to help complete the eAR through the Water Board's Division of Financial Assistance Technical Assistance Program.
Technical Assistance is available to community water systems (CWS) and non-transient non-community (NTNC) water systems with priority given to CWSs serving less than 10,000 people and has a disadvantaged status (median household income < 80% statewide MHI). NTNC water systems are strongly encouraged to reach out to their DDW District Office or LPA program staff to resolve questions about the eAR before requesting TA.
The data compiled from the eAR is published for the years 2013 to present and can be found below. Beginning with 2021 reporting year data, each new reporting year, data collected from public water systems with survey status marked complete will be published within 90 days of the close of the reporting period. Data from 2009 to 2012 is not available in a format that can be reconciled with the 2013-present data, so is not currently available on the eAR website.
The Division of Drinking Water makes available the files for the electronic Annual Report (eAR) database following the collection and processing period for each Reporting Year (RY).
In 2023, the eAR web application is designed and released to California Drinking Water Systems for 2022 Reporting Year (2022RY) on March 15, 2023. As a result of changing platforms beginning March 15, 2021, the format of the data published annually now falls into one of two collection periods. The new platform is between (1) 2022RY and 2020RY, and the old platform is between (2) 2019RY and 2013RY.
- New eAR platform data format (https://ear.waterboards.ca.gov/)
- Historical eAR Platform Data Format (https://drinc.ca.gov/ear/home.aspx)
The eAR data are available to download in tab-delimited text files divided across Reporting Years. Alongside each Reporting Year dataset is the template or templates for reference. As an end-user of the machine-readable data, please refer to the supplemental DDW materials for relating the eAR data including:
- Water System Inventory (Excel)
- This file provides list of all active and public drinking water systems in California as of August 7, 2023.
- The data source is Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS), database of repository for DDW, and available for display by water system on Public Drinking Water Watch (PDWW).
- Data Dictionary (Excel)
- All question-answer data fields and their survey design specifications by reporting year. Find the water system criteria assigned to each question and keys to relate to the result set. The two data dictionaries included are: data dictionary 1 between 2022RY and 2020RY, and data dictionary 2 between 2019RY to 2013RY.
- Results with Import Errors (Excel)
- These results include the compiled importing errors as they exist.
eAR Data Library
Note: Do not import eAR Result set into MS Access or Excel due to lost data errors. These files are tab delimited text files for use with machine readable software. If you are representing a water system and would like to access the eAR data, you may contact the water system's regulating agency.
Instructions for Use
The water system inventory file is available for you to identify the specific criteria by water system type, county, regulating agency, urban water supplier, or other fields. View the Data Dictionary to identify the specific question-answers from the survey. Alongside each reporting year dataset is the template or templates for reference. An additional file is available displaying the import errors from testing all results across all reporting years published.
The eAR moved survey platforms beginning with 2020 reporting year (2020RY). The new platform offers tailored eAR surveys for water systems based on various criteria. Question-answer data fields are assigned water system criteria for hide/show logic based on the design for that reporting year. The following categories are assigned to question-answer data fields:
- Community or Noncommunity water system
- Column Name eAR Type: CWS = CWS, or All and Default
- Large or Small water system by the definition of Greater than 1,000 Service Connections or 3,300 population and the inverse respectively
- Column name NeweARAssignment: SWS = SWS, LWS = LWS, or Both and Null
- SDWIS Fee Code Indicator's Wholesaler (WH), Disadvantaged (DAC), and Not Billed (DD)
- Column Name SDWISIndicator: DAC = DAC, WH = WH, Any or Null and DD
- Urban Water Supplier (UWS) or nonUWS as defined by CA Water Code Section 10617 as a supplier, either publicly or privately owned, providing water for municipal purposes either directly or indirectly to more than 3,000 customers or supplying more than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually.
- Column Name eARIndicator: UWS = UWS, Any or NonUWS
Note: Published data includes a result set of questions asked to water systems based on question design. In 2021RY, only water system results collected with a completed eAR status will be published.
NOTICE TO USERS OF THE DATABASE: Users of this database should use care in interpreting these data. Data that does not meet DDW data quality objectives is included and the provided data may not be representative of current inventory and operating status of the public water system. Data that DDW considers Personally Identifiable Information (PII) per California Consumer Privacy Act is not included. User inquiries about survey question answers are often best addressed by the specific public water system, or by the associated DDW district or County LPA field offices.
For electronic data exports between 2009-2012, we are currently attempting to convert the old data into a legible format consistent with current EAR formatting. We anticipate having the converted data set completed by Summer of 2024. If you have any further questions, please reach out to our customer service team at DDW-EAR@waterboards.ca.gov.
What is the Input Forum?
The eAR Input Forum was created in 2018 and it is a virtual meeting held twice a year by the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water. The purpose of the meetings are to provide information regarding upcoming changes to the eAR, review past years’ eARs, provide the Technical Reporting Order updates, reporting year statistics and uses and gather feedback on proposed changes for external stakeholders. Our external stakeholders include public water system representatives (data reporters), water utility associations and organizations, nongovernmental organizations representing water systems and consumers and entities representing data users including other state agencies.
Meeting dates are listed in the Important Dates & Events section of this webpage.
eAR Email Distribution List
- Subscribe to our email lists to receive eAR related email notifications. See the "Drinking Water" section.
Important Dates & Events
- eAR Release Date:
February 1, 2024
- eAR Reporting Deadline:
April 1, 2024
- eAR Brown Bag Training #1 – Overview & Sections #1-4
February 7, 2024 – Watch Recording
- eAR Brown Bag Training #2 – Sections #5, 7 & AIR Reporting
February 14, 2024 – Watch Recording
- eAR Brown Bag Training #3 – Section #8
February 21, 2024 – Watch Recording
- eAR Brown Bag Training #4 – Sections 9-18, Finalize
February 28, 2024 – Register
- Technical Assistance Applications Deadline:
March 1, 2024
- eAR Input Forum #1
August 28, 2024
- eAR Input Forum #2
October 30, 2024