Tribal Utility Governance (TUG) Program

Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and Community Resource Group (CRG), in collaboration with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) and, are pleased to offer the Tribal Utility Governance Program (TUG). 

The TUG coordinated, tribal-specific program provides training and technical assistance on utility management, financial and managerial capacity issues for personnel of tribally-owned and operated public water systems (PWS) in US EPA Regions 6, 8 and 9.

TUG will provide support for these PWSs to achieve and maintain compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). TUG will assist these systems to become sustainable for the long-term and to reliably provide safe drinking water to their customers.


Who is TUG for?

Tribal government officials, utility board members, water system managers, other tribally owned system decision makers, and staff operating and maintaining Tribal PWS.


What topics will TUG training cover? 

Building Managerial Capacity 

  • The Power of Purpose 
  • What is your Authority and Responsibility? 
  • The Ins and Outs of Holding Meetings 
  • Governing, Managing, Operating Personnel 
  • Dealing with Customers 

Building Financial Capacity 

  • Overview of Financial Management 
  • The Annual Budget Process 
  • Rate Setting 
  • Creating a Capital Improvement Plan


What does TUG include?

  • Formation of new regional Native American Water Masters’ Association (NAWMA) work groups
  • TUG trainings will be offered at NAWMA meetings; the entire three-module course series will be offered during the 2013 calendar year
  • The training program offers two levels of recognition: 
    • certificate of completion, and 
    • optional proficiency testing for Tribal Utility Management Certification
  • Reactive on-site technical assistance
  • E-mail or telephone technical assistance
  • Your training contact time from the TUG module course series may be recognized as professional development hours (PDHs) that can be applied towards operator certification. These training course modules meet the Tribal operator certification training requirements of ITCA (a US EPA-approved provider of Tribal operator certification services) for both new operator certification and the renewal of existing operator certification (levels 2 through 4). 

In addition, program participants that successfully complete all three TUG training course modules are eligible to apply and test for a newly developed Tribal Utility Management Certification. The exam will be made available by ITCA following the third TUG training course module.


What if I can’t physically attend all three of the TUG training course modules? Does that mean I can’t earn a Certificate of Completion for the Principles of Utility Management for Tribes (PUMT)?

No problem. Trainings will be also offered by an interactive web-based virtual classroom at multiple times and will be archived here at Training activities, including class quizzes, can be completed online. Only a computer and an internet connection are needed. These are live, interactive classes, not canned presentations. Program participants that successfully complete all three TUG training course modules along with the pre- and post-test will receive a Certificate of Completion for the newly developed PUMT Certificate.


When and where will the NAWMA meetings and TUG trainings be held?

Visit the meeting dates and information page.


Will there be a training manual?

Yes, you will receive Tribal Water Utility Governance manual for use as course text. It includes a variety of worksheets, sample forms and road-tested tools.



What does it cost? 

There is no charge or fees to you for the TUG program training and/or technical assistance. It is funded by the US EPA. 


Contact your nearest TUG project partner: 

Deborah Patton, RCAC

Karen Conrad, CRG

Brian Bennon, ITCA