Small Water System Management Program (SWSMP)

A Small Water System Management Program (SWSMP) is required to be developed and implemented by all Group A Water Systems not required to develop a Water System Plan.  A SWSMP is much smaller in scope and scale when compared to a WSP.  For non-expanding systems, a SWSMP tends to be a more concise and useful document than a full Water System Plan.

The WSDOH issued new guidance for developing your SWSMP in the Fall of 2011.  Whereas the old firmat had 18 “Elements”, the new format has Three Chapers:


Chapter 1:  Managerial Capacity

1.1 Management Structure and Governing Board

1.2 Service Area and Facilities Map

1.3 Service Policies

1.4 Cross Connection Control

1.5 Source Water Protection Program

1.6 Emergency Repsonse Plan

1.7 Next Steps to Improve Mangerial Capacity

Chapter 2:  Technical Capacity

2.1 Certified Operator

2.2 O&M Program

2.3 Water Quality Monitoring Program

2.4 Component Inventory and Assesment

2.5 Water Rights Assessment

2.6 Water Production

2.7 Current Water Consumption

2.8 Future Water Consumption

2.9 Water Use Efficiency

2.10 Next Steps to Improve Technical Capacity

Chapter 3:  Financial Capacity

3.1 Short-Lived Asset Replacement

3.2 Long-Lived Asset Replacement

3.3 Six-Year Budget

3.4 Water Rates

3.5 Next Steps to Improve Financial Capacity

The SWSMP need not be completed by an engineer; therefore, we are able to either work with you in understanding, researching, and completing various portions of your own SWSMP, or provide you with a finished product.  You will notice that the new guidance places significant emphasis on the idea of “Capacity” of your water system.  It is important to demonstrate that your water system has the Managerial, Technical, and Financial Capacity to operate sustainnably into the future.

What is the Process?

The SWSMP starts with a pre-plan meeting.  If the plan is intended for submittal to DOH, it should include the owner, manager, engineer and regulator(s).  For plans that do not need to be submitted, then the author of the plan should meet with the owner and manager.  Often times these meetings can occur over the telephone.  Once the Scope of Work has been formally defined, the document can be generated.  Similar to the Water System Plan, whoever is developing the Small Water System Management Program needs to work closely with the owner and manager to be certain that the information in the SWSMP reflects the values and desires of the community.

Submission of the SWSMP to DOH may not be a requirement.  If it is submitted, it goes through the same review and comment process as other submissions.  If it is not submitted, the community should still review the plan carefully and provide feed back to the author to make additions and corrections as necessary.

Sections 2.4, 2.10, and Chapter 3 (Assessment, Improvements, and Budget) are considered by many to be the most important portions as they determine the long range viability of the water system.  The minimum requirement of the SWSMP is to report these elements “as-is”.  Often times, systems choose to invest a little more to determine “what should be”.  This is known as a Capital Improvements Program, and goes into much greater detail, providing the system with future options in upgrades and replacements, as well as the water rates necessary to meet your needs and desires.