Within British Columbia, there are estimated to be close to 5000 small water systems (SWS). These systems contain between 2-500 connections and are located throughout the province. These systems have tremendous diversity in their location, governance structure as well as municipal support.  

The BCWWA has been working with small water systems over the years in several capacities.  


Our Annual Conference hosts a Small Water Systems Symposium. This one-day event occurs during the conference and provides an opportunity for SWS owners, operators and supporters to share information and exchange ideas. Small water systems owners and operators receive special pricing to our conference. 

Our Operator Education program contains courses of direct relevance to small water systems including certification preparation courses for small water and small wastewater operators. These courses are available in instructor-led and self-paced online formats. 

The BCWWA has participated in a series of projects with the BC Ministry of Health to support small water systems in improving capacity including:

  • Pilot project to build capacity among small water systems in BC (2015-17) 

  • Point of Entry/Point of Use pilots to identify best practices  

  • BC Small Water Systems Community Network 




In 2015, the Ministry of Health funded a pilot project to assist small water systems in building the capacity they need to plan for, achieve and maintain compliance with BC drinking water standards in a cost effective and sustainable manner. The project targeted small water system owners (including trustees and directors that represent owners) and operators of small systems in BC. A small water system is considered to be any system that has more than two connections and serves up to 500 people. 


Download the project report for details 





In 2020, the Ministry of Health partnered with the BCWWA with the intention of building a mechanism that would support the small water systems community by connecting them with peer networks, resources, information and expertise. This project was created in response to the positive feedback from the different workshops regarding building regional peer networks.  


Importantly, this project also recognizes the wide range of associations, companies and individuals that have developed programs and services that support small water systems. These supporters play an important role in helping owners build their own capacity. An important component of this project is elevating these resources so that they are accessible across the province. 

This project involves three phases; information gathering, design and development and program implementation. The first phase – information gathering, will be completed by October 1, 2020. 




The first phase of the BC Small Water Systems Community Network project involves gathering feedback from both small water systems owners and small water systems supporters.  


To that end, the following survey has been distributed through health authorities and through phone interviews. If you would like to provide your perspective on how this project can serve your needs best, please be sure to take the survey below by August 31, 2020.  


Are you a small water systems owner? Take this survey to provide your feedback

Are you a small water systems supporter? Take this survey to provide your feedback