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EPA and States are cooperating in the planning and design of a centrally hosted Drinking Water State-Federal-Tribal Information Exchange System (DW-SFTIES). The process is guided by the DW-SFTIES Board, which consists of state and EPA leaders in drinking water programs and enterprise information management.


State drinking water programs need support to oversee public health compliance at nearly 150,000 public water systems. To help, EPA has been providing States with Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) State software since the 1990s to reduce data management burden and promote national consistency in state implementation of the Public Water System Supervision Program under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This suite of software enables drinking water programs to: manage water system inventory information; receive and manage large volumes of system compliance monitoring data; manage sampling and monitoring schedules; determine candidate drinking water rules violations via Compliance Decision Support; and track enforcement. It also provides tools to assist with required quarterly reporting of violations, inventory, and actions data to EPA’s SDWIS Fed database. This software is in critical need of modernization.  


The DW-SFTIES development approach operationalizes the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy principles, with a focus on engaging stakeholders robustly in development processes, using modern technologies, and providing project transparency. This modernization effort is expected to reduce state data management workload and enhance the timeliness and accuracy of drinking water data transferred among drinking water systems, primacy agencies, and EPA.


The planning phase, completed in July 2020, included determination and selection of the best option for future modernization of the system. In this phase, the DW-SFTIES Board recommended (and EPA accepted) an EPA-hosted, centralized system. The pre-development phase ran from 2020 to 2021. The design phase ran until 2022. The development preparation phase, completed in 2023, included several key milestones such as:

  • The launch of the SDWIS Program Portal where users can find DW-SFTIES project updates and submit tickets and
  • The establishment of the various software environments through collaboration between the EPA Office of Water and Office of Mission Support.


The DW-SFTIES Team is now in the development phase until 2025. The key milestones in this phase will be: 

  • January 2023-present: The DW-SFTIES program management team is delivering quarterly updates and system demonstrations to the DW-SFTIES Board and DW-SFTIES Executive Steering Committee. The DW-SFTIES Board provides advisory support, and the DW-SFTIES Executive Steering Committee provides governance and oversight of the project.
  • May 2023-present: The State-EPA User Acceptance Testing Team is providing ongoing testing through iterative Agile system development. Each bimonthly release is demonstrated for the drinking water and information management communities during All Things SDWIS calls.
  • December 2023-present: The DW-SFTIES Team is providing EPA funded transition support, which is being piloted with four States, followed by a broader rollout. Transition support areas include primacy agency-specific transition planning, data quality/data migration, and modifying state applications to exchange data with DW-SFTIES via application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • February 2024-present: The DW-SFTIES Team is in the process of developing data mapping/data dictionary dashboards to support primacy agency data mapping efforts.