EPA & USDA Partner on Small System Tools
April 10, 2014
With extensive input from operators and managers of rural and small systems, including field testing at four workshops around the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed two tools:
- Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management, and
- Workshop in a Box
The Guidebook takes rural and small systems through a series of steps to assess their current operations based on ten key management areas that cover all aspects of systems operations. The Guidebook helps systems assess their strengths and priorities for potential improvement and also develop an action plan to address these priorities.
Workshop in a Box contains a series of materials and instructions to help rural and small systems and service providers market and conduct workshops on their own based on information in the Guidebook.
The “why” behind creating both the Guidebook and Workshop in a Box is to:
- Give systems a simple and objective way to evaluate their strengths and areas for improvement
- Help systems develop an easy-to-follow plan for improving operations based on their assessment
- Help systems better communicate internally and externally about the system and its challenges
- Help systems build the necessary support for improvement over time
Links to both the Guidebook and Workshop in a Box appear below.