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State Water Resources Control Board
Division of Drinking Water (DDW)
Electronic Annual Report (eAR) to the Drinking Water Program
Frequently Asked Questions by Water Systems
February 2019

Please read this FAQ before starting a new report. Be sure to acknowledge that you have done so at the bottom of this FAQ.

    BACKGROUND

  1. Under what authority does the Division of Drinking Water (DDW, formerly the California Department of Public Health, or CDPH) require public water systems to submit an electronic Annual Report (eAR)?
  2. Why is the report needed?
  3. When did DDW develop the online electronic reporting format?
  4. GENERAL EAR INFORMATION

  5. I am a new eAR reporter or I need to modify my assigned PWS to complete the eAR. What user guidance is available?
  6. When is this year's report due?
  7. Can I review last year’s report?
  8. What is new in this year’s eAR form?
  9. What contact information should be reported – contact information current as of the end of calendar year 2018 or contact information current as of the time of reporting?
  10. When I create a new 2018, some information has already been entered into the report. Where did this information come from?
  11. What data entry formats are required? (To avoid an error message prompt)
  12. Can I submit the report in hard copy?
  13. How can I print the final report?
  14. Can multiple users register for a water system to complete the eAR? If so, how can they all participate in preparing the eAR? Can they enter data into different sections of the report at the same time?
  15. Can I upload my water system’s Water Quality Emergency Notification Plan (WQENP)?
  16. Can I upload my water system’s Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)?
  17. How do I report problems with the eAR or make suggestions?
  18. REVISION AND COMPLETION PROCESS

  19. How do I know if my EAR submission was accepted or rejected?
  20. Can I change any information once the report is submitted?
  21. My eAR was returned for revision. How can I ensure it is accepted when revised and resubmitted?
  22. END USES OF DATA

  23. Does the public have access to this information?
  24. How does DDW process the data?
  25. What are additional applications for the data?

    BACKGROUND

  1. Under what authority does the Division of Drinking Water (DDW, formerly the California Department of Public Health, or CDPH) require public water systems to submit an electronic Annual Report (eAR)?
    ANSWER: Section 116530 of the California Health and Safety Code (CHSC) specifies that a public water system shall submit a technical report to the CDPH (now DDW) when requested. DDW has established a requirement for every public water system under DDW jurisdiction or Local Primacy Agency (LPA) jurisdiction (i.e., County Environmental Health Departments) to annually submit a technical report specifying contact and operational information for the prior calendar year.
  2. Why is the report needed?
    ANSWER: Valuable information is taken from the annual report to assist in the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act for all water utilities in California.
  3. When did DDW develop the online electronic reporting format?
    ANSWER: To improve the efficiency of information sharing and analysis, DDW first used online reporting for only water conservation information as part of the 2008 eAR. This was called “Part A – Drought, Usage and Emergency Information.” The full annual report was intended to be submitted electronically via the DRINC portal beginning with the 2009 annual report. Due to functionality problems on the DRINC portal, many of the 2009 annual reports were submitted in other formats. Changes implemented with the 2010 eAR resulted in a significant increase in the number of annual reports submitted electronically through DRINC, and the number continues to increase with each subsequent release of the eAR. DDW is continuing to improve the process of electronic data gathering.
  4. GENERAL EAR INFORMATION

  5. I am a new eAR reporter or I need to modify my assigned PWS for completing the eAR. What user guidance is available?
    ANSWER: A User Guidance Document is available at this link: User Guidance Document This document provides information and advice to new users, covering topics ranging from account creation to report submission. You can also view the User Guidance Document at any time by clicking the User Guidance Document link at the bottom of any page on the eAR Portal.
  6. When is this year's report due?
    ANSWER: The 2018 eAR is due April 19, 2019. **This has been extended to May 1st**
  7. Can I review last year’s report?
    ANSWER: Yes. Last year’s report can be viewed as this year’s report is being completed. At the top of each section of the eAR is a link: “To view last year’s report, click HERE”. On Internet Explorer, left-clicking HERE will open a new tab displaying that section of the report with the fields filled with information submitted the previous year. It is suggested to instead right-click HERE and select “Open in new window” to be able to view the current eAR and last year’s eAR at the same time.
  8. What is new in this year’s eAR form?
    ANSWER: The changes from 2017 to 2018 reporting years have incorporated feedback provided by the newly founded Advisory Input Forum consisting of Public Water System Representatives, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), Research Academics, Non-profits, and Environmental Justice groups.
    1. The LWS and SWS templates are provided on the homepage of the eAR portal.
    2. The Water Rates subsection was revised with additional detailed questions on water affordability, while the Water Efficiency subsection for large water systems was moved to the Conservation section.
    3. Questions criteria for mandatory responses were revised. The mandatory questions are highlighted in yellow, and may be viewed once logged in at the finalization page.
    4. Certification form uploads have been imporved to accept more than one document through the eAR portal, available to various format types.
  9. What contact information should be reported – contact information current as of the end of calendar year 2018 or contact information current as of the time of reporting?
    ANSWER: DDW expects PWS reporters to report current contact information at the time of reporting for the eAR.
  10. When I create a new 2018 eAR, some information has already been entered into the report. Where did this information come from?
    ANSWER: Some of the fields in the 2018 eAR are pre-filled with information from the DDW database (the Safe Drinking Water Information System, or SDWIS). The rest of the fields in each section can be prefilled from the 2017 eAR by clicking the "Prefill this Section" link, provided the 2017 report was submitted and deemed complete. The user may then update that information for the 2018 report and complete the fields that are not pre-filled. TIP: You can compare the current report with your responses in the previous year’s report by opening the previous year’s report in another window or tab. Click the “MY EAR REPORTS” tab, select the report you want to open, right click the “View” link, and then click “Open in new tab” or “Open in new window.
  11. What data entry formats are required? (To avoid an error message prompt)
    ANSWER: Responses in certain fields are now required to follow a specified format as shown below:
    Phone number:(XXX) XXX-XXXX
    Email address:xxx@xxx.xxx
    Date:MM/DD/YYYY with the month from 1 to 12 and the day from 1 to 31
    Month:from 1 to 12
    Day:from 1 to 31
    Integer:whole number (e.g., 10 instead of 10.2) AND without commas (e.g., 1000 instead of 1,000)
    Number:without commas, dollars, symbols, letters, or extra spaces in front of the number (e.g., 1000.33 instead of 1,000.33 or $1000.33)

    If the specified format is not followed, a validation error will and you will not be able to leave that section of the report until the error is fixed.

    Certain questions/fields must be answered before your report can be submitted. If you don’t think a mandatory field applies to your water system, or if you simply do not know the answer (AND have no way of getting the answer in a timely manner), you can enter “N/A” or “0” (zero) as appropriate for the question/field so that these questions/fields will not be left blank and flagged with an error. You can check the “Finalize” section of the eAR to see what mandatory questions/fields (if any) have not been answered.
  12. Can I submit the report in hard copy?
    ANSWER: Hard copy submittal is not encouraged. If a water system does not have access to the internet, such as in some remote locations, DDW or the LPA may accept a hard copy submittal of the information required by the eAR. DDW or the LPA will then input this information via the eAR Portal on behalf of the water system. Please contact your district or LPA office to receive a mailing address to send a hard copy of the report.
  13. How can I print the final report?
    ANSWER: Once the 2018 eAR has been submitted, it will be listed under the MY EAR REPORTS tab along with all other eARs that have been submitted by the user (or previous water system representatives). On the right side of this section are options to VIEW or PRINT each report.
  14. Can multiple users register for a water system to complete the eAR? If so, how can they all participate in preparing the eAR? Can they enter data into different sections of the report at the same time?
    Yes, a water system can have multiple registered users, and they can input information into the eAR at the same time provided they are not working on the same section of the eAR. The eAR sections are separated by tabs at the top of the page, and changes are saved section by section as the user navigates through the report. If working in separate tabs, multiple people can input information at the same time and each person’s edits will be saved. Please be aware that no further changes may be made to an eAR once the submit button has been pressed (unless the eAR is returned to the water system for revision).
  15. Can I upload my water system’s Water Quality Emergency Notification Plan (WQENP)?
    ANSWER: Yes, you can upload your water system’s Water Quality Emergency Notification Plan (WQENP) through the eAR Portal. Just go to the “MY WQENP UPLOADS” tab and click “Upload new WQENP file.” Please Note: If a WQENP file for your water system has already been uploaded, you do not need to upload a new one UNLESS the new WQENP has changed from the previous one. To upload an updated WQENP file, click the “Upload” link to the right of the previously uploaded file. This will remove the previous WQENP file from the DDW database, so if you need to keep a copy of the previously uploaded WQENP file, click the View link, then download the previous WQENP file before uploading the new WQENP file.
  16. Can I upload my water system’s Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)?
    ANSWER: Yes, you can upload your water system’s CCR and CCR certificate through the eAR Portal. To upload your water system’s CCR, go to the MY CCR UPLOADS tab and click the “Upload new 2018 Consumer Confidence Report” link near the bottom of the page. Once you have uploaded the CCR, you can upload the CCR Certificate by clicking the “Upload” link under the CERTIFICATE column. Please Note: your CCR and CCR Certificate should be uploaded in either PDF or DOC format (PDF is strongly recommended). Other file formats may cause issues when viewed by the public. You must upload the CCR and CCR Certificate for calendar year 2018 by July 1, 2019.
  17. How do I report problems with the eAR or make suggestions?
    ANSWER: Any problems identified in the functionality of the 2018 eAR or the DRINC Portal should be reported to the DRINC Portal administrator at DRINC@waterboards.ca.gov. Suggestions are welcomed and should be provided via the COMMENT field included on the INTRO tab of the 2018 eAR.
  18. REVISION AND COMPLETION PROCESS

  19. How do I know if my eAR submission was accepted or rejected?
    ANSWER: The water system is not informed when district/LPA staff have completed the review and the eAR is accepted. You can check the status of your eAR by going to the the MY EAR REPORTS tab and checking the STATUS column. If the status is “Submitted”, the eAR has not yet been reviewed by district/LPA staff. If the status is “Completed”, the eAR has been reviewed by district/LPA staff and deemed complete.
    If the eAR is rejected and requires revision, an email will be sent to the PWS reporter(s) informing them of the status change. The status of the eAR in the MY EAR REPORTS tab will change to “Needs Revision”.
  20. Can I change any information once the report is submitted?
    ANSWER: Once the eAR has been submitted, a reporter cannot modify or add to the information in the report. If you need to make changes or the report was not complete when submitted, contact your local regulatory office and request that they return the eAR for revision. Once you have revised the eAR it can be resubmitted.
  21. My eAR was returned for revision. How can I ensure it is accepted when revised and resubmitted?
    ANSWER: When the eAR is returned for revision, the response steps generally include:
    • Email to the reporter(s) informing them that an eAR needs to be revised.
    • eAR Portal provides district/LPA staff with a comment field for the reviewer.
    • The reviewer uses the comment field to provide instructions for what additional information or changes are needed to resubmit for completion. If additional information is needed, it is suggested the eAR reporter contact the district or LPA representative serving the PWS.
    • Enforcement againt deliquent systems will occur June 1, 2019.
  22. END USES OF DATA

  23. Does the public have access to this information?
    ANSWER: Some information gathered and/or updated via the eAR is available to the public via the Public Drinking Water Watch page, located here: http://sdwis.waterboards.ca.gov/PDWW. All information submitted via the eAR is public information (except for confidential locational information and personally identifiable information) and can be accessed through a Public Records Act Request. Information provided on the registration page (name and title, email address, and work phone number) are disclosable report information that may be obtained through the Public Records Act.
  24. How does DDW process the data?
    ANSWER: DDW and LPA representatives update the primary database, Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) including: contact information, changes in population and changes in service connections. Additional review focuses of the annual report include verification of the number of active sources, the use of standby sources, and compliance with operator certification requirements.

    DDW is also gathering information on water conservation for use by the State in the implementation of the 20X2020 Water Conservation Plan and information to use in the development of the Safe Drinking Water Plan updates.

    DDW provides a view of the SDWIS content as it was reported in the eAR in multiple methods:
  25. What are additional applications for the data?
    ANSWER: Agencies use eAR information to drive their business processes.