Developing, Protecting and Managing Water Resources

AWWA Policy Statement on Developing, Protecting and Managing Water Resources

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) supports and promotes the integrated use of adaptive water resources planning processes and effective management practices to provide reliable, sustainable, and cost‐effective supplies of appropriate quality water for customers.

Freshwater sources are increasingly at risk from a variety of natural and human‐induced stressors, including population growth, climate change, land‐use changes, and pollution. Additionally, water system reliability is increasingly at risk due to aging infrastructure that is in need of replacement or renewal.

In order to assure current and future water quality and supply reliability, it is essential that water managers use iterative and adaptive long‐range planning processes that encourage consideration of local and regional water supply options, including demand management. These efforts should be comprehensive in approach, include the participation of local and regional partners in decision‐ making and explicitly evaluate water resource conditions under a variety of scenarios, while integrating the social values and the needs of natural systems into the decision‐making process. Additionally, water managers should routinely and comprehensively review their water management practices and consider opportunities for incorporating operational efficiencies that will improve and/or maintain water supply adequacy and reliability, water quality, socio‐economic benefits, and environmental benefits.

Water agencies should consider all water supply options that are potentially viable. Surface and groundwater storage should be considered, when and where feasible, as an effective approach to managing and augmenting local water supplies. In addition to freshwater sources, potable options include desalinating brackish groundwater or seawater, or the reuse of reclaimed wastewater. Non‐potable supply options such as reclaimed/recycled water, decentralized rainwater and greywater collection systems, along with urban stormwater capture, can be effective options for reducing demands on potable supplies and should be considered in the planning process. Other nature‐based solutions, which focus on protecting watersheds and aquifers that benefit water quality and quantity, should also be considered. Applicable options should be carefully evaluated with emphasis given to optimizing the long‐term value of water supply and water quality initiatives.

Practices specified in this policy statement are consistent with other pertinent AWWA policy statements.

Adopted by the Board of Directors June 8, 1975, revised Jan. 31, 1982, and revised Jan. 28, 1990, June 11, 2000, June 13, 2004. Jan. 17, 2010, Jan. 19, 2014, and June 11, 2017.