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Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems


State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships

Public Supply Commission of Mississippi (PSC)

Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH)

State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships


Any project that includes consolidation of ownership and management of two or more separate systems will receive extra points equal to half the adjusted benefit/cost points earned. Mississippi’s 2017 IUP explains that “the purpose of assigning consolidation points is to promote reliability, efficiency, and economy of scale that can be achieved with larger water systems while discouraging the proliferation of numerous separate small systems with their inherent inefficiencies and limitations.”


MSDH provides DWSRF funding to Mississippi State University Extension Service to coordinate the PEER Review Program, which started in 2003. The program brings high performing operators to consult with low performing systems to prepare for annual MSDH inspections and rule changes. The PEER Review team members are volunteers with experience as PWS operators or managers and are not affiliated with any regulatory agency. The program is geared toward providing improved technical operations to water supply staff through peer to peer interaction. 


The PSC can petition the Chancery Court in the county where the system is doing business to attach the assets of a privately-owned water system and appoint a receiver if the system is unable or unwilling to adequately serve its customers; has been actually or effectively abandoned by its owner; or has management that is grossly inefficient, irresponsible, or unresponsive to the needs of its customers. The court-appointed receiver must operate the water system so as to preserve the assets and to serve the best interests of the customers. Control of and responsibility for the water system remains with the receiver until the court determines that it is in the best interest of the customers for the system to be returned to the owner, transferred to another owner, assumed by another water system or public service corporation, or liquidated.


MSDH encourages systems with inadequate capacity to form cooperative arrangements, including physical consolidation and administrative mergers. This can be done by increasing the number of enforcement actions, imposing administrative penalties on systems that serve customers in excess of their approved design capacity, and by reviewing plans and specifications. According to the 2014 Triennial Report to the Governor, “Strict enforcement also encourages water systems without adequate capacity to seek alternate methods of compliance, including the pursuit of mergers with neighboring viable water systems. In most cases, these mergers (or "consolidations") result in the creation of much more capable public water systems, which do have the capacity to provide safe drinking water to their customers.”

Helpful Links to State Resources