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The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) supports a water utility’s ability to develop a diversified portfolio of water resource options that includes alternative water resources such as: desalination; water reuse, including direct and indirect potable reuse; prudent conservation measures; stormwater capture; and innovative programs developed through research. Selecting from options that are most appropriate for the local utility’s unique resource options and acceptable to the public will allow more flexibility in operations and a greater ability to manage future risk due to uncertainties in demand, source availability and climatological conditions.

AMWA believes the establishment of reliable funding mechanisms that facilitate and encourage innovation and the development and improvement of alternative water resources is critical. Federal and state governments should partner with the drinking water community to conduct research and develop technologies to produce alternative water resources, reduce water consumption and resolve challenges associated with the use of alternative sources of water. Based on these findings, the government should consider ways to facilitate the adoption of sustainable water supply strategies that carry no human health risks beyond current standards, and develop guidance on treatment technologies and systems needed to ensure this level of safety.


  1. In many communities, demands from business, agriculture, the environment and a growing populations have placed a tremendous strain on existing sources of both groundwater and surface water, jeopardizing its long-term sustainability.
  2. In addition to encouraging and promoting water conservation measures and demand management, water utilities have to diversify their portfolio of source options to continually meet the water needs of the communities served, especially during extended periods of low rainfall or water quality challenges that impact traditional water supplies.
  3. Having a reliable water supply portfolio is critical to developing and maintaining a vibrant community and local economy, and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of a prolonged drought and compromised quality are severe and far-reaching. There is a need to develop renewable resources that enhance utility sustainability to mitigate the damaging effects of both long-term and cyclical droughts.