Many water system audits have been conducted in the absence of consistent definitions and standards and have often used inappropriate metrics for measuring the water supply efficiency. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is one of a handful of regulatory agencies in the USA that has changed its regulations to reflect the improved approach to water loss accounting made possible by the IWA/AWWA methodology. The 2009 amendment to the DRBC Water Code requiring the new audit format was developed by DRBC staff and the DRBC’s Water Management Advisory Committee (WMAC). Compliance with the program was voluntary in 2011 and required in 2012. DRBC, in partnership with a number of large municipal and private water purveyors, has held workshops and training sessions for water system operators.
The purpose of the Delaware River Basin Commission is to manage the water resources of the basin without regard to political boundaries. Even though the Commission has been given a number of authorities through the Compact, there was a need to set direction and priorities. It is also true that no one agency can manage water resources – it takes a team of agencies representing multiple levels of government as well as the private sector, academic institutions and non-profit organizations. That’s why in 2000, we developed a broad stakeholder group, the Watershed Advisory Council, to help the Commission develop a direction setting plan for the next 30 years. The Water Resources Plan for the Delaware River Basin (The Basin Plan), 2004, was developed through a facilitated process with significant stakeholder involvement. The Basin Plan has Guiding Principles and addresses five key result areas (KRAs): 1) sustainable use and supply, 2) waterway corridor management, 3) linking land use and water resource management, 4) institutional coordination and cooperation, and 5) education and involvement for stewardship. Each KRA has a) desired results, b) goals, c) objectives, d) milestones and e) desired outcomes. We wanted this document to be a driver for action.