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The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) supports protection, preservation and cleanup of the nation’s surface water resources through control of both point and nonpoint source pollution. AMWA supports utilizing the watershed approach as the framework for bringing together all stakeholders to identify problems within a watershed and to solve water quality concerns.

AMWA also urges federal, state and local governments to coordinate program efforts to make better use of available resources (technical, institutional and financial) and to encourage flexible innovative approaches to meeting water quality objectives.

In addition, AMWA encourages greater state and local government recognition of the importance of rivers, streams, lakes and their contributing watersheds as essential sources of drinking water. AMWA urges states to strongly consider drinking water contaminants (particularly those with acute human health effects) when defining impaired waterways within their borders. AMWA further urges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state authorities to establish water quality criteria and standards such as total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for pollutants of concern to drinking water suppliers. AMWA supports the application of TMDLs and the designation of water bodies as drinking water sources where applicable to protect source water.

Finally, the transition from today’s form of regulatory control to one based on a watershed management framework will take time and resources. In order for this transition to take place, AMWA encourages all levels of government to commit adequate financial and technical resources for the long-term.


  1. Surface water sources provided 74 percent of all water withdrawn for use in the United States in 2015, and 61 percent of water withdrawn for public supply purposes.1 These water sources are vulnerable to potential chemical and biological contamination.
  2. Future improvements in water quality will be dependent on managers taking a broader focus than exists in many areas today. Only by evaluating the entire watershed in collaboration with stakeholders to determine the interaction of all pollution sources (urban, suburban, rural and agricultural point and nonpoint sources) will decision makers and communities be able to develop a management approach that identifies the specific pollution sources that require additional controls so that water quality goals can be achieved.
  3. Nonpoint sources of pollution comprise the largest source of water pollution and remain one of the biggest challenges. Federal and state governments need to encourage the agricultural community (including through regulatory requirements where appropriate) to participate in solving pollution problems attributable to agricultural practices.
  4. Governmental coordination and cooperation are essential because watersheds often cross numerous political boundaries and the scope of these watershed planning efforts can require significant time and resources.

1  Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2015,” United States Geological Survey.