WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 23, 2022 -- The Water Systems Council, the only national nonprofit organization solely focused on household wells and small water well systems, is celebrating 90 years of contribution to the growth of the private water systems industry in 2022.
The Early Years
Founded in 1932 as the National Association of Domestic and Farm Pump Manufacturers (NADFPM), the organization’s early years focused on a cooperative partnership between water systems manufacturers and electric power companies to bring electricity to rural areas. That partnership, known as the Electric Water Systems Council, worked to promote and educate farmers, dealers, and others on the benefits of electrification and installation of running water on farms. Thanks to this effort, the annual sales of electric pumps and water systems grew from 50,000 in 1932 to 600,000 by 1950.
Once electrification was essentially accomplished by the 1950s, the NADFPM gradually moved to promoting complete water systems as part of a total well and water supply. The introduction of the submersible pump in the 1950s helped to spur pump sales throughout that decade and beyond.
In 1961, NADFPM was reorganized and renamed Water Systems Council (WSC). Supplier companies were invited to join WSC to broaden its support base. WSC turned its focus to developing a Testing and Rating Standard for pumps as well as a more robust and accurate statistical reporting program. Previously, the industry had relied on annual Census Bureau reports and an informal poll of manufacturers for its statistics on pump shipments. Beginning in 1970, WSC issued pump data based on actual shipments.
Today, WSC provides its members with monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual statistical reports on unit shipments of water systems, pumps, and tanks by state as well as five-year growth trends for jet and submersible pumps.
The Modern Era
Beginning in the 1970s, WSC began to place greater emphasis on providing the necessary tools for promoting, protecting, defending, and educating the industry and the public about water and private water systems through marketing, education, public information, engineering, legal advocacy, and government relations programs. Those efforts continue today through:
- Established in 2003, WSC’s wellcare® program provides private well owners with free information on well maintenance, well water treatment and testing, potential groundwater contaminants, drought issues, and more.
- The wellcare® Hotline has answered more than 130,000 questions from well owners across the U.S., Canada, and other countries.
- The wellcare® program provides 100 different information sheets on its website to help Americans maintain their wells.
- Children’s Water Festivals have provided hands-on educational activities for more than 14,000 grade school children on preserving and protecting the nation’s water supply.
- Free membership in WSC’s Well Owners Network provides more than 11,000 Americans with information on well maintenance and water testing, discounts on water testing kits, and other benefits.
- WSC’s wellcare program is funded through EPA’s Training and Technical Assistance for Private Well Owners grant program.
Research & Standards Development
- WSC has provided training workshops to over 100 communities in 34 states on issues related to wells and groundwater.
- WSC has conducted Water Law Conferences for attorneys, academics, state and local elected officials, regulators, environmentalists, and others responsible for water resource planning.
- WSC provides technical training for water well contractors and suppliers on topics related to water well drilling and installation.
- WSC maintains a searchable online database of state well codes pertaining to well construction and permitting.
- WSC provides industry leaders and regulators with domestic water well data, household well data and other important research on regulatory matters impacting water wells.
- WSC has provided the Centers for Disease Control with data from its wellcare® Hotline on consumer water well issues.
- WSC develops performance standards for wells and well parts, including:
- ASSE Standard #1093-2019/WSC PAS-97 (2019) –Performance Requirements for Pitless Adapters, Pitless Units, and Well Caps.
- ASSE Standard #1099-2021/WSC-PST 2000/2021 - Performance Requirements for Pressurized Water Storage Tanks.
- WSC has maintained representation in Washington, D.C., since the late 1970s to monitor activities of regulatory agencies and proposed government legislation that could affect the private water systems industry.
- In 2013, WSC worked on water well legislation that was introduced in the House of Representatives on September 18, 2014 as the “Water Supply Cost Savings Act” (HR5659). The “Savings Act” was aimed at reducing the cost to federal, state, and local governments in providing quality drinking water to millions of Americans living in rural or isolated communities by promoting cost-effective community well water systems.
- Signed into law in 2016, the Water Supply Cost Savings Act (PL 114-322) requires EPA and USDA programs to provide information about cost-saving, innovative, and alternate drinking water delivery systems, primarily focused on the utilization of wells and well systems. The law also requires that individual, shared, and community wells be considered by all applicants seeking federal funding for drinking water systems serving 500 or fewer people.
- WSC ‘s legal advisor monitors local, state and federal cases and submits briefs on behalf of WSC and its members on issues of importance to the water well industry.
In 2010, WSC established the Water Well Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides wells to Americans who do not have a safe drinking water supply. It is currently the only organization whose sole mission is to provide a safe water supply to disadvantaged Americans. It does this by providing financing for wells for low-income households with wells that no longer function properly, has contamination issues that render the well unsafe, or have no well or other safe water source.
Most Water Well Trust projects are funded through matching grants from the USDA’s Rural Decentralized Water Systems program. WSC member companies contribute a percentage toward the matching grant each year. USDA grants to the Water Well Trust have grown from $140,000 in 2014 to $1.4 million in 2021. To date, the Water Well Trust has been involved in drilling or rehabilitating 268 water wells serving 282 households in 27 states, paying $2.6 million directly to well contractors for this work.
In addition to providing a clean water supply for hundreds of Americans, the Water Well Trust projects have also been used to show government officials and regulators the effectiveness of wells and well systems to deliver quality drinking water across the U.S.
The Water Systems Council is the only national nonprofit organization solely focused on household wells and small water well systems. For 90 years, WSC has been committed to ensuring that Americans who get their water from household private wells have safe, reliable drinking water and to protecting our nation's groundwater resources. For more information, visit watersystemscouncil.org.