| AWWA Councils, think tanks contribute insights to Water 2050 initiative
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AWWA Councils, think tanks contribute insights to Water 2050 initiative

The pathway to a sustainable water future is beginning to take shape, as members of the water community contribute unique insights and recommendations through the Water 2050 initiative.

Hosted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), Water 2050 is a collaborative effort to envision the future of water and chart a course for success and sustainability. It seeks input from diverse voices from inside and outside the water profession through a variety of engagements and feedback loops.

During the annual AWWA Council Summit in Denver, Colo., Oct. 25-27, members of the Association’s six leadership councils engaged in spirited Water 2050 conversations, debating overarching questions such as “What will the water community’s biggest challenge be in 2050?” alongside questions more targeted to each council’s area of expertise. (Pictured center, Council Summit discussion about Water 2050).

Meanwhile, a series of five Water 2050 think tanks is under way, each one focusing on a different driver: sustainability, technology, economics, governance or social/demographic. A report from the first think tank, which took place Sept. 26-28 in Las Vegas and focused on sustainability, is expected to be available on AWWA’s website the first week of December.

The second think tank focuses on technology and will convene Dec. 5-7 in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Each think tank report will include high-level recommended actions. Once all five think tanks are completed, their outcomes will be combined with other results and published in a final report. 

AWWA President Joe Jacangelo described Water 2050 as a call to action. “We need to proactively act to chart our path to a sustainable water future,” he said.  

Insights and recommendations that emerge from Water 2050 will inform AWWA’s events, publications, and its next five-year strategic plan. However, Water 2050 is designed to reach far beyond AWWA and to spur collaboration with partners outside the water community.

“Through Water 2050, we have the power to shape water’s future,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “It is a powerful exercise to get all the ideas on the table and determine which have the most impact. Input from the think tanks, AWWA sections, councils, members, leadership, staff and partners will help us create our future reality.” 

The Water 2050 initiative officially launched at the Association’s 2022 Annual Conference and Exposition in San Antonio. A video featuring the perspectives of AWWA young professionals kicked off the effort, and variations of that video are being used to open each think tank.