As regulatory burdens, operational costs, and customer expectations continue to rise, maintaining affordable rates is a challenge for utilities across the nation. Water system partnerships can address a range of challenges, from water supply shortages to aging infrastructure to affordability and financial insecurity.
State regulatory agencies and EPA have encouraged partnerships as a strategy to improve the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of public water systems, but the process of forming water system partnerships can be hampered by cultural, legal, or financial difficulties or uncertainties.
As more systems are interested and engaged in a range of different water system partnerships, AWWA is working with the broader water community including the Water Research Foundation, the National Association of Water Companies, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and the Environmental Protection Agency to bring water and wastewater systems the tools they need to form water system partnerships, ranging from mutual aid agreements to regionalization. A new business case and legal guide on water system partnerships will be available November 2018.
AWWA continues to participate in the national conversation surrounding affordability issues and environmental justice.