Distribution System Optimization Program

Distribution canal at sunset

Distribution system optimization

In 2007 the Partnership and the Water Research Foundation developed a project to help distribution systems optimize operations. Modeled after the treatment program, membership in the distribution program ensures that water quality improvements can be measured and validated over time.


How the Distribution System Optimization Program works

Distribution systems in the Partnership program demonstrate that they are continuously committed to optimization. Participating systems can benchmark their performance in relation to other utilities in their region and across North America. All distribution systems that add a residual disinfectant and are interested in improving performance are invited to participate in the program.

Learn about the program's benefits (PDF)

The distribution system optimization program is based on four distinct phases:

group meeting
Phase I: Commitment
Distribution systems commit to engaging staff in data collection, self-assessment and optimization.
Download program overview (PDF)

operator and map
Phase II: Data Collection
Systems collect disinfectant data for annual submission. The data is included in the Partnership's Annual Report. 
Download getting started information (PDF), and download baseline data requirements (PDF)

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Phase III: Self-Assessment
The Phase III Self Assessment Completion Report is required to receive the Directors Award. Learn how utilities prioritize and focus their report; and, access the checklist to better understand report elements:

Learn about prioritizing and focusing (PDF)

Download Phase III Checklist (PDF)

Download Self-Assessment Template (PDF)

Download Sample Self-Assessment Report (PDF)

* Prior to beginning a Phase III self-assessment, please email Barb Martin or call (303) 347-6220

** Note about developing the self-assessment process and report:

It is very important to note that Phase III is a process that focuses on active participation of as many utility staff as possible to conduct a thorough and candid self-assessment. The ultimate goal is identification of factors limiting optimal performance; and, development of associated action plans to feasibly address these performance limiting factors in a timely fashion. This report is provided because it is an excellent example of the outputs and outcomes of the previously described self-assessment process; however, it is not intended to provide an example of optimal distribution system operational procedures or modes of operation.

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Phase IV: Optimized Performance
The Phase IV Excellence in Distribution System Optimization Award recognizes utilities that have achieved the highest level of optimization and are committed to continuous improvement.

Reporting DATA
Utility participants are required to report data and information as part of their annual submission.
Learn About Requirements and Reports



Directors & Presidents Awards

The Directors and Presidents Awards for the Distribution System Optimization Program focus on self-assessment and continuous improvement planning.  Directors Award recipients are selected based on the merits of the Phase III Completion Report, not solely on numerical results.

volunteers review reports and confer awards, highlighting the system's outstanding performance and commitment to the community and regulators.  Discover the utilities that have been recognized for outstanding water distribution system performance by visiting the Award Winning Utilities and Plants webpage.

Directors Awards


Call us at: 303.347.6169

Fax us at: 303.794.6303


The Partnership for Safe Water is an alliance of six drinking water organizations:

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ASDWA logo

NAWC logo
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Join Us!

Utilities subscribe to the Partnership for Safe Water to ensure delivery of safe, high quality water.

awards promote system excellence with the public and regulators; and materials let utilities create connections with the media and officials to share their outstanding achievements.

Subscribe to Treatment Program (PDF)

Subscribe to Distribution Program (PDF)