The National Rural Water Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to training, supporting, and promoting the water and wastewater professionals that serve small communities across the United States. The mission of NRWA is to strengthen State Associations.
NRWA provides training and technical assistance through 49 affiliated State Rural Water Associations, that currently have over 31,000 utility system members. Last year, State Rural Water Association staff delivered over 75,000 on-site technical assistance visits and 150,000 hours of training to more than 37,000 utilities. Rural Water training and technical assistance covers every aspect of operating, managing and financing water and wastewater utilities.
Rural Water Success: Gifford Tornado
One technical assistance visit from 2013 was after the town Gifford, Ill. was left without water on Nov. 26th when a tornado destroyed several homes and most of the water treatment plant.
“When I pulled up, all that was standing was the aerator and their four sand filters,” explained Evan Jones, a circuit rider with the Illinois Rural Water Association.
Jones and crews from the nearby towns of Paxton and Gibson City started testing water wells and scavenging parts to reassemble the treatment plant. In was a difficult undertaking, complicated by the fact the Gifford utility’s tools, equipment, and records had been carried away by the tornado. Tables necessary to operate the pumps and manage the complicated mix of treatment chemicals had to be remade from scratch.
Still, after eight hours of work, the combined efforts of Rural Water and local crews had the treatment facility working again. The next day they started isolating leaks and repairing damage to the distribution pipes, slowly restoring service to the rest of the town. Even after the official disaster had passed, and the new media had left, Jones made return visits to Gifford, helping the utility over the months it took to return to normal operation.
Did you know?
NRWA provides training and technical assistance to all eligible water and wastewater systems, regardless of membership. Membership supports State Associations magazines, legislative representation and internal costs.
NRWA programs generally focus on assisting small and rural communities that serve less than 10,000 people. However, State Associations work in different ways with all sized systems, with many large cities demonstrating their support for Rural Water as members.
State Rural Water Associations have full-time staff and offices located throughout the country to serve all 50 states, tribally-owned systems, and the U.S. Territories. Due to geographic size, Connecticut and Rhode Island are most efficiently served by one combined State Association office.