In June, RCAP released two new publications to help lay audiences understand the technical aspects of treating drinking water and wastewaster. The guides are designed to explain in everyday language to a water utility’s board members or other decision makers some of what happens in the technical operations of their community’s facilities so that they can make more informed management and financial decisions about their system.

The guides are titled A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems and A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Wastewater Systems.

To complement the printed guides, RCAP has created special sections on its website that explain the treatment process of drinking water and wastewater through animated diagrams and short videos. To access these sections, go to

Each of the two sets of videos is hosted by a member of RCAP’s field staff who provides an overview of the treatment process as well as special considerations or concerns that a system’s operator has in each step. The videos are meant to make non-operators more comfortable with the vocabulary and terms that a plant’s operator uses and to help a utility’s decision makers understand what is required to operate a dependable and sustainable water utility in terms of natural, human, financial and other resources.

“Perhaps new board members will understand the range of oversight they have after visiting these sections of the website,” said Stewart, “and that overseeing a utility is not just about keeping rates down. It’s also about supporting your operators because they keep the water flowing all the time and hold the public’s health in their hands.”

Helpful Videos for Other Guides

In addition, RCAP has produced two other short videos that describe new guides related to the financial management of small-community water systems. Organizations associated with RCAP and those that support small, rural communities in similar ways are encouraged to take these videos from Vimeo and embed them on their own websites or share them in their social-media channels. Other possibilities are to play them as additional useful resources at an event or on a video conference call. They are approximately four minutes each. The video for Formulate Great Rates: The Guide to Conducting a Rate Study for a Water System is at and the video for The Basics of Financial Management for Small-community Utilities is at  All of the RCAP guides and supplements are available at

These resources are being funded as part of a special grant of ARRA funds secured by RCAP and furnished by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in 2010.


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