Benchmarking

The Benchmarking Program

Benchmarking utility performance indicators is an essential element of continuous improvement, allowing utilities to track their own performance and to compare their results to peers to identify areas that could be strengthened. 

The AWWA Utility Benchmarking Program provides objective performance measures for utility leaders to track their organizational performance.

Participation in the 2020 survey is closed. If you are interested in participating in the 2021 benchmarking survey, contact us at benchmarking@awwa.org.

   

 

 

 

Set a Course to Improve Your Utility

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Participate in the Benchmarking Survey

Participation in the program survey let's your utility begin to track your utility's performance so you can set realistic targets for the future.

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Review Your Individualized Report

Survey Participants receive a free report that showcases your utility's performance on each performance indicator relative to the industry.

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Save on Additional Data Metrics

Get detailed information on all performance indicators and access historical trends. Participants save 30% on the full publication.


 
How to Participate

Already a Benchmarking Program User?

Follow the link to access the AWWA Utility Benchmarking Program. Log in using your awwa.org credentials, then you will be redirected to the Benchmarking site.

 

Are You New to the AWWA Utility Benchmarking Program?

To establish a NEW Utility Login, new Benchmarking Program participants can request access through the following key steps:

  1. New Utility Participants
    1. Identify key roles for the Benchmarking Program:
      1. Point of Contact (POC): (required) Recipient of all Benchmarking correspondence, responsible for assigning contributor access, manages data collection, and submittal of final report. POC will have the ability to print individual participant reports. Only one POC can be designated per utility.
      2. Contributors: (optional) Assigned by POC to collect data, enter data, and review specific sections for completion. Multiple contributors from each utility can be assigned. All contributors must also have an AWWA login, membership is not required. Contributors access will not be complete until POC has assigned survey sections.
    2. Request Access: Complete request by sending Utility Name and Point of Contact (POC) to AWWA Benchmarking. Staff will ensure utility access is completed and a confirmation email will be sent as soon as possible.
  2. New Individual Contributors
    1. Verify your individual AWWA.org login. If you do not already have a login (membership is not required), please create a new account
    2. If your utility is already a Benchmarking participant, your POC can add you as a Contributor on the POC dashboard, and assign you specific sections for data entry and review. Please email AWWA Benchmarking with questions or access issues.
    3. Access is complete after POC has assigned sections AND started the 2020 survey.

Data You Will Need to Participate in the Benchmarking Survey

Decision-makers interested in improving performance should begin by determining which measures are most relevant to their utility and complete the corresponding data collection sections. Utility contacts will input into the online platform their fiscal year performance data based on a series of utility operations questions. Not all sections are required to be completed to participate in the AWWA Utility Benchmarking program, however, we encourage utilities to provide as many data points as possible.

All individual utility data is kept confidential. Only aggregated quartile ranges are reported in the Participant Report as well as Final Publication.

Utility data is collected in the following Benchmarking Survey sections:

  • Water Stats
  • Wastewater Stats 
  • Staffing
  • Organizational Development
  • Financial Information
  • Billing
  • Call Center
  • Customer Service 
  
  • Service Disruptions
  • Maintenance
  • Energy Consumption
  • Water Supply Planning
  • Wastewater Operations
  • Stakeholder outreach 
  • Triple Bottom Line
  • Sustainability

Following submission of performance data, relevant reports are posted to the Utility's online dashboard.

See the complete list of Performance Indicators that will be reported for 2020 participants.

AWWA's Utility Benchmarking Program is a valuable tool for utilities of all sizes to track their performance annually and compare their results with peers to identify areas for improvement. Responding to the complete list of more than 110 individual metrics (and resulting 58 performance indicators) can be time-consuming for small systems. Therefore, the following abbreviated list was identified as a tool for small systems to focus their efforts and serve as a starting point for participation. The KEY UTILITY MEASURES represent those tracked by a well-run utility. Respond to highlighted survey questions (Key Utility Measures) - additional guidance is provided within the User Instructions Document.

Likewise, new utility participants can opt to get started with the AWWA Utility Benchmarking Survey by completing the KEY UTILITY MEASURES during their initial year of participation, with the goal of adding more performance measures in subsequent years of participation.

KEY UTILITY MEASURES
Organizational Development
  • Training (hours per employee)
  • Customer Accounts (accounts/FTE)
  • Employee Health & Safety Severity Rate
Business Operations
  • Debt Ratio (%)
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio
  • Operation Ratio (%)
  • System Renewal/Replacement (% of funds allocated)
Customer Service
  • Technical Service Complaints/1,000 accounts
  • Billing Accuracy (errors/10,000 billings)
  • Average time to address Unplanned disruptions - Water
  • Average time to address Unplanned disruptions - Wastewater
Water Operations
  • Regulatory Compliance - Water (%)
  • Available Water Supply (years)
  • Water Distribution System Integrity Leaks & Breaks/100 miles of pipe
  • O&M Costs for Water Services ($/account)
  • O&M Costs for Water Services ($/MG)
  • Maintenance - Planned maintenance ratios (%) [Overall, Linear, Vertical]
Wastewater Operations
  • Wastewater compliance rate 
  • Collection System Integrity (failures/100 miles of pipe)
  • O&M Costs for Wastewater Service ($/account)
  • O&M Costs for Wastewater Service ($/MG)
  • Maintenance - Planned maintenance (%) [Overall, Linear, Vertical]

The list was developed in coordination with the AWWA Benchmarking Advisory Committee and subject to change as needed for alignment with the complete AWWA Utility Benchmarking Survey.

If you work for a water, wastewater, or combined utility that may be interested in participating in future benchmarking efforts, please contact AWWA at benchmarking@awwa.org for questions on the AWWA Utility Benchmarking Program. 

Stephanie Passarelli, PE
Utility Benchmarking Program Manager 

 

Program Case Studies

Hundreds of utilities have participated in the AWWA Utility Benchmarking Survey over the decade and have found benefit from yearly participation. Check out AWWA's report showcasing how five outstanding utilities have established goals, and utilized their benchmarking data results to track continuous improvement.

Read Case Studies

 

  

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AWWA UTILITY BENCHMARKING PUBLICATION 

AWWA's Utility Benchmarking: Performance Management for Water and Wastewater publication is made possible by AWWA Utility Benchmarking Program Participants. 

It allows utility managers to use data and analyses to determine how their utility’s performance compares to the water or wastewater industry. The report includes performance indicators for five areas of operations: Organizational Development, Customer Relations, Business Operations, Water Operations, and Wastewater Operations.

 

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