“No operators, no water.”

– American Water Works Association



Expanding access to water operator training materials is critical to the operations and maintenance of our small rural water systems. Many aspiring water operators, however, do not have access to training materials because they are too expensive. The recommended textbooks for water operator certification exams range in cost from $90-$200 per book. 

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) is piloting a program that will place water operator training materials for certification in six rural public libraries across the US. Doing this will provide educational opportunities for operators in remote areas at no cost to them. Additionally, having library access to textbooks will make training resources available to operators who are challenged by technology and web access.

  • enable aspiring water operators to prepare for their state’s certification exam
  • enable operators who wish to increase their certification level to prepare for the required exam
  • empower libraries to support local water systems while also being recognized for their contribution to their communities
  • inform members of rural communities about operations and maintenance of their water systems, and
  • recruit people to learn about important local jobs.


Participating libraries receive a delivery of water operator training manuals and personalized program flyers. Libraries will also receive technical and outreach support from EFCN staff to ensure that community members are aware of this opportunity. Three surveys during the program will give participating libraries and nearby water utilities the chance to give their feedback to the EFCN. With this information, we will be able to determine if this program is useful, viable, and replicable on a larger scale.



  • Tularosa Public Library, Tularosa, New Mexico
  • Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Craft Memorial Library, Buewell, West Virginia
  • Dundee Public Library, Dundee, Florida
  • Lyons Public Library, Lyons, Kansas
  • Concordia Parish Library, Ferriday, Louisiana







Small Water System Operation and Maintenance (6th edition, © 2018 Office of Water Programs/University Enterprises, Inc.)

Water Distribution System Operation and Maintenance (7th Edition, © 2018 Office of Water Programs/University Enterprises, Inc.)

Water Treatment Plant Operation: Volume 1 (7th Edition, © 2017 Office of Water Programs/University Enterprises, Inc.)

Water Treatment Plant Operation: Volume 2 (7th Edition, © 2020 Office of Water Programs/University Enterprises, Inc.)


The Library Pilot Program is part of a larger project with the EFCN. Click Here to read more about the program for Building Technical, Managerial, and Financial Capacity for Small Water Systems.

Program Contacts:

joni M. Palmer, Ph.D

Project Director

e: palmerjonim@unm.edu      





Shannon Pepper, M.S.

Program Coordinator

e: spepper@unm.edu        




For more information on water operator training and certification in the U.S. browse the additional resources included.