Capacity Development and Technical Assistance

Capacity Development is a fundamental component of the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that creates a framework for states to support the technical, managerial, and financial (TMF) aspects of public water supply operation. To be viable and sustainable, it is critical that a water system be operated by a well-trained and capable staff, supported by effective management, and have sound financial policies.

It is the goal of DEQ’s Capacity Development program to provide or locate resources and education to help Oklahoma’s water systems in these important areas of operation. To help understand which areas your Public Water System (PWS) may need assistance in, the recommended first step is to complete a free Capacity Development Assessment (CDA) with an agency specialist. This assessment will provide a comprehensive picture of your PWS’s strengths and weaknesses in defined TMF areas. To participate in a CDA, or if you already know in which areas you would like assistance, please submit a Request for Technical Assistance

Capacity Development Assessments

Upon request, any Oklahoma public water supply can complete a Capacity Development Assessment (CDA) from DEQ. An agency specialist will meet with water system management and conduct the assessment, which is a comprehensive examination of the system’s management and operations. The purpose of the assessment is to help pinpoint areas in water system operations that might significantly impact the ability to sustainably produce water now and in the foreseeable future.  For any deficiencies that are found, DEQ can provide or arrange for technical assistance to help the water system correct the problem.

The assessment and technical assistance are provided at no cost to the water system, and help is provided strictly on a non-enforcement, voluntary basis. Templates are also provided for free to help improve your TMF capacity. Download templates from the links provided to get started today. Reach out to us with questions or assistance by calling us or using the “Submit Request for Technical Assistance” button.

All Oklahoma public water supplies are eligible to use the services provided through this program and a CDA is required to receive project funding support from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DEQ Capacity Development Program is committed to helping small water systems provide safe drinking water and to maintain compliance with the SDWA by providing or coordinating assistance in the following areas:


The physical and operational ability of a water system to meet SDWA requirements, including the adequacy of physical infrastructure, technical knowledge and capability of personnel, and adequate source water.

Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Plan, Training & Certification Plan, Communication Policies, Strategic Growth Plan, Emergency Response Plan (ERP), Source Water Protection Plan, Water Loss Audit, Leak Detection, Meter Analysis, Meter Maintenance Plan, Cybersecurity Plan


The ability of a water system to conduct its affairs in a manner enabling the system to achieve and maintain compliance with SDWA requirements, including institutional and administrative capabilities such as ownership accountability, staffing and organization, and effective external linkages.

Customer Service Policies, Standard Operating Procedures, Personnel Policies, Governing Documents & Bylaws, Organization Chart


The ability of a water system to acquire and manage sufficient financial resources to allow the system to achieve and maintain compliance with SDWA requirements, including revenue sufficiency, credit worthiness, and fiscal management and controls.

Asset Management Plan (AMP), Financial Management Policies, Procurement Policies, Rate Studies

Pre-visit Checklists

Use the following checklists to prepare for a visit from a Capacity Development specialist. These checklists include information on the type of assistance you will receive, and what documents or information you can prepare ahead of time to assist in completing the requested assistance.

Capacity Development Assessment Pre-Visit Checksheet

Asset Management Plan (AMP) Pre-Visit Checklist

Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Pre-Visit Checklist

Water Loss Audit (WLA) Pre-Visit Checklist

Oklahoma Drinking Water Lead Testing in Public Schools & Child Care Facilities

The Capacity Development Section also plays an important role in carrying out the Lead Testing in Public Schools & Child Care Facilities Program. This program offers free sampling and testing of drinking water at schools and child care facilities throughout Oklahoma. Public schools, and public or private child care facilities that sign up for the program receive free inventory, sampling, laboratory testing, and guidance on what steps to take to eliminate lead from the drinking water at their locations. Follow the link below to learn more about the program, results, or submit an application. There are also volunteer opportunities for high school or older students.

Lead Testing in Schools Webpage