AWWA Articles

AWWA releases manuals on desalination, water main condition assessment, drought

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) recently released three new manuals that address the increasingly significant topics of inland desalination, water main condition assessment and drought.

Two of the manuals are first editions – M69 Inland Desalination and Concentrate Management and M77 Condition Assessment of Water Mains.New AWWA manuals The third, M60 Drought Preparedness and Response, is an updated second edition. All were made public at AWWA’s 2019 Annual Convention and Exposition.


This manual presents the key issues and challenges of developing inland desalination facilities, including concentrate management and disposal methods.

Charlie He“Because of the rapid growth in municipal desalination plants, the need for this manual is urgent,” said Charlie He (pictured right), chair of AWWA’s Water Desalting subcommittee that oversaw development of the manual. “The industry has accumulated enough knowledge and experience to provide guidance in this area, and desalination technologies have become mainstream as they’ve gotten more efficient and economical.”

According to He, inland desalination solutions must be developed based on site-specific water quality and discharge limits. “There is no single solution,” he said.

M69 also applies to direct and indirect potable reuse practices where nanofiltration and reserve osmosis might be utilized.


Water main condition assessment helps utilities meet the difficult challenge of maintaining both service levels and affordable rates. This manual provides guidance on using condition assessment tools and techniques to make informed decisions and set water main repair, rehabilitation, and replacement priorities.

Dan EllisonDan Ellison (pictured left), chair of the Water Main Condition Assessment Committee that produced the manual, said it provides information to “identify more precisely where money is best spent, leaving in place pipelines that have adequate integrity and preventing the unnecessary failure of others.”

“Because water main condition assessment is relatively new, there is a scarcity of authoritative, peer reviewed material to guide utilities,” he said. “This manual fills an important need by providing a comprehensive overview of the many methods that can be used to assess water mains.”

Information is organized around various inspection methods and applies to distribution or transmission mains, depending on pipe material.


New tools and methods for managers facing water shortages are included in this manual, an update of the first edition published in 2011. With the world’s supply of drinkable fresh water under increasing pressure, and a growing number of communities experiencing periodic water shortages, M60 provides a step-by-step process for anticipating and responding to water shortages.

AWWA’s Planning, Evaluation & Research Committee oversaw development of the updated manual, which also illustrates how to employ successful drought mitigation strategies.

“Managing water shortages involves temporarily reducing demand and finding alternate water supplies to temporarily meet demand,” states the manual’s introduction.

M60 includes examples of how water suppliers dealt with multi-year droughts. It provides a structured planning process to help a water supplier assess the risks and reduce the vulnerability of a community to the impacts of drought.