| AWWA embraces water sector leadership in new 2030 Strategic Plan
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AWWA embraces water sector leadership in new 2030 Strategic Plan

A new five-year strategic plan adopted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) prioritizes member experience, best practices for the water community and long-term sustainability.

Link to video with David Rager and Keisha Thorpe, co-leaders of Strategic Planning CommitteeThe new 2030 Strategic Plan, which will be in effect through the end of 2029, is the guiding document for AWWA and its operations. It defines the Association’s vision, mission and core principles, while laying out strategic goals and objectives. It was approved by AWWA’s Board of Directors during its June meeting at the 2024 Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE24). 

A 16-member Strategic Planning Committee that reports to the Board’s Executive Committee developed the plan. Chaired by past president David Rager and current board member Keisha Thorpe, the committee included representatives from sections, councils, service providers, manufacturers and the AWWA board and staff. 

“The 2030 Strategic Plan continues AWWA’s vision of ‘A Better World Through Better Water,’ stressing the importance of strong collaboration between the Association and its Sections,” Rager said. “It continues to focus on the members’ value experience, using transformational technology to expand the sharing of AWWA information, best practices and innovative solutions.”

Thorpe said the plan also highlights AWWA’s role as a leader in the water profession. “AWWA is the authority on water,” she said. “This speaks to our credibility, our professional content, and representing who we are as water professionals.”

This is AWWA’s first five-year strategic plan to be developed since the Association’s Water 2050 initiative was introduced and is one of the building blocks in the collaborative process to shape the future of water. 

“A key aspect of AWWA’s strategic planning process is the effort to involve volunteers from all across North America who have different experiences, both professionally and geographically,” Rager said. “They bring that knowledge to the discussion about what AWWA should be thinking about in the future, which is very valuable in developing a plan that resonates across our membership.”

Setting the framework for strategic priorities

AWWA Core PrinciplesThe 2030 Strategic Plan maintains AWWA’s vision and mission statements from the previous 2025 Strategic Plan:

  • Vision: A better world through better water
  • Mission: Providing solutions to effectively manage water, the world’s most vital resource

The plan advances four strategic goals that were carried forward from the 2025 Strategic Plan, although a goal titled Member Engagement & Development changed to Member Experience. The four strategic goals are:

  • Member experience
  • Organizational stewardship
  • Knowledge creation & exchange
  • Water policy leadership

“Having successfully come through an economically challenging time, the plan stresses maintaining AWWA’s financial health and investing in the organization,” Rager said. 

The plan also lists six core principles, which summarize AWWA’s values as an organization:

  • Protect public health and the environment
  • Strengthen public trust
  • Advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Inspire innovation
  • Engage globally
  • Shape water’s future

The 2030 plan built on the previous framework by expanding the principle of advancing diversity and inclusion to add equity and belonging.

“Recognizing that AWWA members serve an exceptionally diverse customer base, the Strategic Plan builds upon AWWA’s culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to provide members with knowledge to use in serving their unique communities,” Thorpe said.

Rager added, “This plan really focuses on AWWA’s leadership in the future. AWWA recognizes we are the largest water organization and a leader in the water sector. The plan reflects where we want to be – not just in five years but in 10, 15, and 20 years.”

Video comments are also available about the 2030 Strategic Plan’s focus on AWWA’s future leadership role, key elements, and support of Water 2050.