History of Giving

Water Equation History

On March 29, 1881, in Engineers’ Hall on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., 22 men representing water utilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee founded the American Water Works Association.

They adopted a constitution that stated the purpose of the association as being “for the exchange of information pertaining to the management of water-works, for the mutual advancement of consumers and water companies, and for the purpose of securing economy and uniformity in the operations of water-works.” Research to cure cholera and typhoid is attributed to this organization that devoted itself to public health.

In 1961 AWWA founded Water Research Foundation to advance the science of all water to meet the evolving needs of its subscribers and the water sector. WRF is a nonprofit, charitable and educational organization which funds, manages, and publishes research on the technology, operation, and management of drinking water, wastewater, reuse, and storm water collection, treatment and supply systems—all in pursuit of ensuring water quality and improving water services to the public.

Denver Water offered an opportunity for property to American Water Works Association in 1974, which resulted in the move to our current address in Denver.

Water for People was founded by AWWA in 1991 as it shared the vision of a world where all people have access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

Recognizing the need to provide continuing education for water operators and students to ensure the future workforce, AWWA founded Water Equation in 2015. At the same time, it entered into a partnership with Engineers without Borders- USA and American Society of Civil Engineers to create Community Engineering Corps with the goal of improving water infrastructure in underserved communities. Water Equation has adopted Community Engineering Corps as a funded program.

Our goals remain the same as they were in 1881, but we use innovation and technology to achieve them. This newest philanthropy, Water Equation, has a mission of educating water industry professionals as well as protecting our communities through safe water. 

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