Case studies illustrate how utilities and other water community partners have met and overcome real-world challenges. Sharing these lessons learned from the field can result in some of the most valuable insights gleaned from WaterRF research. ​This section contains a diverse collection of case studies showing how utilities have saved on energy and therefore lowered their costs, ​responded to main breaks, and much more.

Access LevelTitleIntroduction
Social Media for Water Utilities: Case Studies
As part of project #4638, researchers collected a range of real-world examples of how water utilities are using social media in their daily operations. This document contains eight case studies from a diverse group of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities.
Fostering Innovation Within Water Utilities: Case Studies
As part of project #4642, information was gathered from surveys and interviews in order to develop short summaries of current innovation program practices. These case studies provide an overview of the selected operations and innovation storyline, and detail how the organizations engage each of the eight innovation disciplines. Eleven case studies representing informal, formal, large, and medium innovation programs for water utilities were developed. In addition, three case studies of innovation in private sector companies were developed based on publicly available information and interviews with staff.
Water and Electric Utility Integrated Planning: Case Studies
​This document contains 10 case studies from utilities in the United States, Canada, and Australia, all of which are pursuing varying forms and degrees of Water Electic Utility Integrated Planning (WEUIP). The case study data were gathered through semi-structured interviews and from public and previously published information. These case studies are a supplementary deliverable of WRF project #4469.
New and Emerging Capital Providers for Infrastructure Funding: Case Studies
This document contains 10 case studies, covering financial alternatives such as green bonds, century bonds, public-private partnerships, private placements, WIFIA, self-financing, and integrated financing. These case studies are a supplementary deliverable of WRF project #4617.
The Evolution of Pressure Management
This case study describes how Halifax Water utilized pressure management in order to reduce leakage and prevent main breaks.
Trinity River Utility Story
This Utility Story focuses on how Trinity River Authority (TRA) from Arlington, Texas partnered with WRF to develop an innovative process to control manganese during conversion to biofiltration.
Milwaukee Water Works and Ozone
This utility story video focuses on Milwaukee Water Works (MWW), a WRF subscriber for over 25 years and participating utility on over 25 WRF projects during that time. In 1993, MWW experienced a Cryptosporidium event, which resulted in a boil water advisory. Over the next five years, Milwaukee implemented an unprecedented $89 million renovation of facilities to strengthen the barriers related to source water protection, disinfection, and filtration. At the time, the $51 million design-build project was the largest ozone retrofit in the world. To ensure the success of this project, MWW relied on WRF research on ozone inactivation of emerging pathogens, ozone contactor optimization, bromate formation reduction strategies, quenching agents, and diffuser design.
Case Study 1 – Pipe Repair Costs
This Excel spreadsheet contains data on a fictional case study. It investigates the repair cost and burst profile for a company's pipes over a five-year period. The ultimate aim of this case study is to understand how much money is required over the five years to ensure the pipes can be fixed and thus the total cost with uncertainty is needed. This case study illustrates the process that could be followed if good data are available; in this case information regarding costs, pipe burst rates, material and age. This is a supplementary deliverable of WRF project #4514.
Case Study 3 – Water Supply Options
This Excel spreadsheet contains data on a fictional case study. It considers the scenario of a water company facing a deficit in the water supply in the next five years (if there is no investment). There is a high certainty that there will be a deficit but there is uncertainty regarding the size of the deficit. Two options to meet the water supply deficit are considered under this scenario: building new treatment capacity, or employing water efficiency methods (e.g., carrying out customer education programmes; distributing free water saving devices). This is a supplementary deliverable of WRF project #4514.
Case Study 4 – Combine Results
This Excel spreadsheet contains data on a fictional case study. This case study combines the costs of the other case studies to understand uncertainty at the program level. This is a supplementary deliverable of WRF project #4514.
Lead and Copper Corrosion Control Case Studies
This document contains case studies showing how six utilities have approached lead and copper corrosion control. The case studies were developed as part of project #4409, Controlling Lead in Drinking Water.
Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management: Snapshot Case Studies
This document contains 25 snapshot case studies developed as part of project #4487, Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management. The case studies provide practical examples of how agencies and communities worked through institutional barriers so they could practice a more integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management. Case studies looked at initiatives and interactions between different levels of government, private entities, NGOs, and citizens across a range of institutional barriers. Three in-depth case studies were also developed from the project and are available on the WRF Website.
A Utility Scale One Water Approach: Clean Water Services, Oregon
This case study focuses on the transition towards a One Water approach to water management at a utility scale. The case study examines the drivers, institutional challenges, initiatives, and lessons learned from Clean Water Services located in Washington County, Oregon. The case study was developed as part of project #4487, Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management. Two more in-depth case studies and 25 snapshot case studies were also developed from the project and are available on the WRF Website.
City of Sydney Decentralized Water Master Plan
This case study focuses on the transition towards a One Water approach to urban water management at a city scale, namely that of the City of Sydney. The case study was developed as part of project #4487, Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management. Two more in-depth case studies and 25 snapshot case studies were also developed from the project and are available on the WRF Website.
Pittsburgh Region: A Regional Scale Analysis of a One Water Approach
This case study focuses on the transition towards a One Water approach to water management at a regional scale of Pittsburgh and its surrounding 83 municipalities. The case study examined the drivers, institutional challenges, initiatives, and lessons learned from water and government institutions located in the Pittsburgh region. The case study was developed as part of project #4487, Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management. Two more in-depth case studies and 25 snapshot case studies were also developed from the project and are available on the WRF Website.
A City Prepared for an Uncertain Future: Colorado Springs Utilities Balances Water Conservation and Revenue Stability
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) serves a growing community in a semi-arid environment, with limited local water resources transported from mountain sources. CSU shares challenges common to many other utilities, such as recent droughts and recession, long-term economic and population growth, and the prospect of climate change. To manage water use more efficiently, CSU has adapted its water rates and initiated additional active water conservation programs. Conservation rates and programs coupled with economic conditions have resulted in reduced demand in recent years, as well as unprecedented revenue uncertainty. At the same time, long-term growth and limited local resources have prompted the planning and construction of a major new supply source.
Cobb County, Georgia Successfully Implements Efficiency-Oriented Rate Structure and Educates Customers through Targeted and Strategic Public Engagement Effort
In 2006, Cobb County Water System in Metro Atlanta received a directive from the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District to implement conservation rates. Anticipating strong opposition from its 175,000 customers, Cobb County assembled a core Rate Setting Team to develop and execute a robust public engagement effort that would support a successful rollout and implementation.
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Achieves Demand Management Goals with Unique Volumetric Rate Structure and Long-Term Planning
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) serves the City of Los Angeles and some small adjacent areas. The City’s increasing block rate was developed from a Citizens Blue Ribbon Committee in 1993 and has been widely seen as a success that helped flatten water demand in spite of a growing population and economy. DWP’s rate structure has maintained required utility revenues, reinforced incentives to use water efficiently, and has achieved broad customer acceptance within a major metropolitan area having a diverse customer base.
Water Quality Impacts of Extreme Weather Events: Case Studies
A total of 46 Case Studies from the United States and Australia were collected as part of WRF project #4324. These case studies are available here in one document, bookmarked by Case Study number.  (PDF 5mb)
Case Study Series: Water Resource Strategies and Information Needs in Response to Extreme Weather/Climate Events
Project 4416 is a collaborative project with WaterRF, WERF, NOAA, EPA, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, and Noblis that examines how water utilities, resource managers, and county and regional planners make decisions before and during extreme weather events, and how they have adapted, or intend to adapt, their planning efforts to better prepare.  The project held workshops in six communities that have experienced extreme events and produced case studies. Five of these case studies, from the following locations, highlight lessons learned on building resilience to extreme events, including useful tools and data sources. The case studies are packaged together below into an Extreme Weather Case Studies Compendium.
- California: Russian River Watershed

- Georgia: Upper Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

- Kansas/Missouri: Lower Missouri River Basin

- Virginia: Tidewater Area

- Washington DC: National Capital Area
Implementing Renewable Energy at Water Utilities: Case Studies
Many utilities have found means for including renewable energy options at their facility, either through direct purchasing and operating of equipment, leasing space on-site to third-party renewable energy companies, through purchase power agreements, or purchasing offsets from third parties off-site to account for power use in high-energy applications such as desalination. To provide context for WaterRF subscribers on this issue, the efforts of a few municipalities with successful renewable energy projects are highlighted as case studies. These case studies have been selected for the type of renewable energy technology, project scale, and location.
Quantifying the Benefits of Water Quality Catchment Management Initiatives: Case Studies
Under project #4393, UKWIR developed a benefit assessment framework to assist in evaluating the benefits of catchment (watershed) management schemes. The purpose of this document is to test the framework using a series of five catchment management case studies.
Case Study: Ann Arbor Water Treatment Services, Michigan
This case study by Ann Arbor Water Treatment Services illustrates energy savings strategies in the areas of water treatment, water distribution, and plant improvements. The case study is excerpted from project #4223, Energy Efficiency in the North American Water Supply: A Compendium of Best Practices and Case Studies.
Case Study: Tarrant Regional Water District
Decision Support System for Sustainable Energy Management (project #4090) resulted in the development of a decision support system (DSS), Excel-based tool to help water utilities explore the results of implementing various energy management options. This pilot study with Tarrant Regional Water District, adapted from project #4090, illustrates one utility’s use of the tool.
Best Management Practices: Case Studies from the North American Drinking Water Community
The Water Research Foundation documented innovative practices in asset management by five North American drinking water utilities for the Global Water Research Coalition’s (GWRC) international “Compendium of Asset Management Case Studies.” The Foundation is a founding member of the GWRC, a global partnership of water research organizations. The full Compendium will include drinking water and wastewater case studies from four or five countries and will be available in 2009. Included here are the five North American Case Studies related to Drinking Water that serve as Best Management Practices in the area of utility Asset Management. The Case Studies represent utilities that are geographically diverse, vary in size from small to large, have different types of governance structures, and are all quite active in some or all parts of the Asset Management continuum.
Case Study: Wyoming, Michigan, Uses KANEW for Asset Management
The city of Wyoming, Michigan, used a Foundation asset management program to prioritize its plans for renewing and replacing pipes in its distribution system.
Philadelphia Tracks Customer Perceptions to Confirm Its Taste-and-Odor Practices
Philadelphia Water participated in Foundation studies on consumer perceptions of tap water and on public perceptions of chlorinous flavor to ensure that it understood its customers' attitudes toward the utility's chloramine residual and to fine tune its practices.
Energy and Water Quality Management System (EWQMS) Saves Electricity Dollars
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) participated in Foundation research projects on EWQMS, then developed its own energy optimization strategy and software to reduce electricity use, and costs.
Using Chlorine Dioxide to Control Bromate Formation in El Paso, Texas
High bromide levels in Rio Grande source water led El Paso Water Utilities to apply chlorine dioxide prior to ozonation to control the formation of bromate, a regulated contaminant.
The Impacts of Blended Source Waters on the Distribution System
This case study outlines how Tampa Bay Water addressed the challenge of blending source waters in pilot-test water treatment strategies for saline, treated surface, and ground water to understand the properties of numerous, seasonally adjusted blends and the interactions of those blends with member governments' varied distribution systems.
Aquifer Storage and Recovery
From the Foundation series, "Research Applications: Research in Use". In 2001, about 40 United States utilities were applying ASR technology. This case study offered examples describing some of the unique empirical knowledge gained from their experiences and how Foundation research on aquifer storage and recovery is helping water utilities ensure adequate supplies for their customers
How Particle Counting Can Improve Water Quality
From the Foundation series, "Research Applications: Research in Use", this study discusses how Foundation research has helped water utilities use particle count data to optimize treatment plant processes for particle and pathogen removal.
Research Leads to Large-scale Microfiltration Plants
From the Foundation series, "Research Applications: Research in Use", this study explores the advantages of low-pressure membrane treatment processes and how water utilities have applied Foundation research findings on membranes to remove microbial contaminants
How Chloramines Improve Water Quality
From the Foundation series, "Research Applications: Research in Use", this study discusses how four water utilities applied Foundation chloramine research findings to solve water quality problems.