Request for Proposals: 2018 Washington Metropolitan Area Drought Exercise Facilitator

The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac (CO-OP) seeks proposals for a facilitator (or facilitator team) for the 2018 Washington Metropolitan Area (WMA) drought exercise.


The ICPRB CO-OP Section provides technical and management support to the three main water suppliers in the WMA (Fairfax Water, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and the Washington Aqueduct).  The water suppliers optimize the use of resources by coordinating their water supply operations during droughts.  One of several supporting roles that the CO-OP Section plays in the cooperative system is to conduct annual drought exercises to practice drought-related communications and operations.  Information on past drought exercises can be obtained here.

The cooperative approach to drought management in the Potomac basin was established in a set of agreements including the 1978 Potomac River Low Flow Allocation Agreement (LFAA) that allocates water during drought and the Water Supply Coordination Agreement (WSCA) of 1982 that established the cooperative system.  To date, the WSCA and the associated collaborative management of the water supply system have prevented the need for LFAA allocations.

The purpose of the 2018 drought exercise is to explore the cooperative system under extreme drought conditions that require LFAA allocations.  This day-long exercise has two objectives:

  1. To test the mechanisms in the LFAA for allocating water during an extreme drought, and
  2. To explore the interactions between multiple drought management plans that encompass the Potomac River and the WMA.

It is expected that interesting opportunities and challenges will be identified during the exercise because the LFAA allocation formula and the process for allocating water during shortages has not been tested to date.  Specifically, the expected outcomes of the exercise include an increased understanding of how the LFAA’s flow allocation procedure will work in practice and how the region’s various drought management plans will work together.  In addition, problems or issues that need to be addressed as next steps will be identified.

Exercise participants include LFAA signatory parties, other interested utilities, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and other federal state, and local agencies with responsibilities in drinking water quality, emergency management, ecological health, and related fields.

Facilitator Tasks

The tasks of the drought exercise facilitator include pre-meeting preparations, facilitation of the exercise, and preparation of a summary report.  Each of these is discussed in more detail below.

  • Pre-meeting preparations:
    • Meet via teleconference at least two times and in person one time with ICPRB staff in preparation for the exercise. These meetings will last no longer than two hours each.  Proposals can include additional meetings as deemed appropriate.
    • Have a pre-meeting discussion via phone with key representative(s) from each participating agency to anticipate potential conflicts and areas of synergy. Topics for these discussions will be developed working closely with ICPRB staff and may contribute to the development of exercise content.
    • Electronically send meeting invitations, reminders, logistical information, and manage RSVPs.
  • Facilitation of exercise: The facilitator will lead the day-long exercise with technical support and preparation from ICPRB staff.
  • Preparation of summary report: Write a final report summarizing the exercise and discussions, especially highlighting drought-related decisions made by participants at key stages of the exercise, lessons learned, and potential next steps.


The anticipated timeline is included in Table 1.

Table 1. Project milestones and deliverables.

Milestone or Deliverable Date
Begin project No later than September 1, 2018
Pre-meeting preparations September-November, 2018
Facilitate exercise November 30, 2018
Draft summary report January 15, 2019
Final summary report February 15, 2019


The facilitator is expected to have the following skills:

  • Facilitate meetings of diverse stakeholder groups
  • Communicate effectively, orally and in writing
  • Encourage meeting dialog in a way that enhances the exercise goals
  • Understand water resources physical processes and management challenges, especially as they relate to management of water supplies during drought
  • Meeting planning and logistics (to advise ICPRB on meeting planning and logistics for successful outcomes)

Proposal Submission

To be considered under this RFP, please submit a proposal that includes cost and technical details to Bo Park via email by June 29, 2018.  The proposal should not exceed 10 pages in length and should include the following sections:

  • Introduction: Provide sufficient introduction to demonstrate an understanding of the drought exercise and facilitator tasks described above
  • Vision: Include a description of individual facilitation style and philosophy as well as the steps envisioned to complete the described facilitator tasks
  • Qualifications: Identify each team member and describe current and previous experiences that demonstrate the required skills listed above and describe why those experiences would help accomplish this project’s objectives
  • Cost: Provide a detailed cost estimate for the activities as described.

The proposal will be evaluated on the qualifications and experience of team members, the approach that the proposal identifies, the ability to achieve the exercise goals, and cost.  The decision will be based on best value.  The award is contingent on fund availability.

Download a PDF of this announcement here.

Questions about this RFP can be submitted to Heidi Moltz via email.