Office of Water Publishes Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Office of Water has just published a new planning tool for drinking water and wastewater utilities. Titled Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities, the guide is intended to provide information about how to enhance current utility planning processes by building in sustainability considerations. It is designed to be useful for various types and scales of planning efforts, such as:

• Long-range integrated water resource planning
• Strategic planning
• Capital planning
• System-wide planning to meet regulatory requirements (e.g., combined sewer overflow upgrades and new stormwater permitting requirements)
• Specific infrastructure project planning (e.g., for repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of specific infrastructure)

A key component is to promote the adoption of practices that will help utilities plan and effectively manage their infrastructure and operations to ensure sustainability and develop and maintain the necessary technical, financial, and managerial capacity to do this planning. Useful for a broad range of drinking water and wastewater utilities, this initiative reflects a system-wide approach to planning that can drive a strategic shift from a project-by-project focus to one of utilities as systems. It can drive greater consideration of a utility’s role within the community or watershed and open up opportunities to achieve water quantity and quality objectives.

You may view or download a copy of this document by going to the Office of Water sustainability website at and scrolling down to the “New and Noteworthy” box. You may also search by the document publication number: EPA-832-R-12-001.