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Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems


State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Idaho Public Utility Commission

State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships


Idaho’s DWSRF program awards 10 extra points to projects that include consolidation or regionalization. Projects that will enhance sustainability efforts, energy conservation, water conservation, extending life of capital assets, green building practices and other environmentally innovative approaches to infrastructure repair, replacement, and improvement can earn up to 50 additional points.


Idaho allows public water systems to share operators so long as the operators are available and on-call to direct staff and assistants. The Idaho Public Drinking Water System Switchboard provides links that allow public water systems to search for licensed operators available for contract.


The Idaho DEQ requires new systems to investigate the feasibility of obtaining water service from an established PWS. “If existing water service is available, but an owner elects to proceed with an independent system, the owner must explain why this choice is in the public interest in terms of environmental protection, affordability to water users, and protection of public health” [IDAPA 58.01.08 §500 (6)]. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) can deny a certificate to a small water company if it is shown that there is no need for the service or that another company whether municipal, cooperative, or investor-owned, is willing and able to provide similar or better service (IDAPA 31.36.01. §102).


The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality participates in the Idaho Water-Wastewater Agency Response Network (IDWARN) and provides links to this program through the Public Water System Switchboard. The IDWARN network is hosted by the Idaho Rural Water Association and allows water and wastewater utilities to help each other during emergencies by facilitating the exchange of resources and staff where needed. Members sign a mutual aid agreement to facilitate rapid emergency response among member utilities. IDWARN also facilitates quarterly regional and annual statewide meetings to bring together state representatives, stakeholder groups, and IDWARN members.

Helpful Links to State Resources