AWWA was formed in 1881 by 22 utilities for the exchange of information pertaining to the management of water works, for the mutual advancement of consumers and water systems and for the purpose of securing economy and uniformity in the operations of water works.

AWWA’s international efforts started in the 19th century with Japanese and German visitors to the early AWWA meetings. Since that time 746 individuals, utilities and service providers have become members of AWWA. In order to serve these members and address their needs, AWWA established the International Council as one of six councils with the chair residing on the Board of Directors. In 2001, AWWA established the International Council to provide the same values outside of North America.