AMWA's 2018 Annual Report

AMWA publishes an annual report to its membership that highlights accomplishments of the previous 12 months. The 2018 report uses the theme “Uniting Leaders, Effecting Change” to show how the association brings its member utilities together to identify and implement transformative approaches to many of the most difficult challenges facing the water sector. The report focuses on achievements in areas of legislation and regulation, as well as accomplishments in support of utility sustainability, resilience and management. It also spotlight’s regional initiatives, international programs and, most importantly, the leadership contributions of the water systems executives who step forward each year to volunteer their time and expertise to advance the water industry.

An Equitable Water Future (2017)

The 2017 US Water Alliance briefing paper, “An Equitable Water Future,” highlights the connections between water management and vulnerable American communities. While water challenges are often considered in the context of failing infrastructure or environmental pollution, the report offers “a robust analysis of the often-overlooked human dimension of water management, with a focus on how water can expand opportunity for the nation’s most vulnerable people.”

The Alliance identifies the ways in which water issues disproportionately impact vulnerable communities and highlights the potential to leverage water systems to build water equity. Among the water system challenges described are aging and inadequate infrastructure, affordability, climate impacts, siting of hazardous facilities and engaging public participation. 

More than 100 real world examples are included in the paper, including many initiatives involving AMWA members and their communities.

Navigating Legal Pathways to Rate-Funded Customer Assistance Programs (2017)

In conjunction with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, AMWA and six other water sector organizations came together in July 2017 to publish "Navigating Legal Pathways to Rate-Funded Customer Assistance Programs," a state-by-state guide that explores the differing legal frameworks that must be considered by utilities seeking to use rate revenue to fund programs that assist low-income customers.  By assessing the feasibility of rate-funded customer assistance programs (CAPs) in each state, the guide will help water and wastewater systems nationwide evaluate the variety of CAPs they may wish to explore to benefit their low-income ratepayers.  In addition to being available as a pdf document, an electronic version of the guide, along with an interatctive state-by-state map, is available online at

AMWA-NACWA Study on the Value of Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds (2013)

In 2013, AMWA and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) released a report, The Impacts of Altering Tax-Exempt Municipal Bond Financing on Public Drinking Water & Wastewater Systems, to estimate the cost implications to water and wastewater systems of limiting or abolishing tax-exempt municipal bonds. The report found that more than $39 billion worth of state and local tax-exempt debt was issued in 2012 to finance water and sewer projects. If municipal bonds had been fully taxable that year, the report says, municipalities' water and wastewater financing costs would have increased by roughly $9 billion.

In 2017 AMWA and NACWA created a supplement to this report that estimated the value of the municipal bond tax exemption for drinking water and wastewaer projects during the previous year.  The organizations found that communities issued $38 billion in 2016 municipal bonds to pay for water, sewer, and sanitation infrastructure projects, and that fully taxing municipal bond interest would have increased total debt service on these bonds by 25 percent, or $16 billion over their expected repayment periods.  The full results of the 2017 supplement, which includes a breakdown of interest savings by state, are available here.

Pharmaceuticals in the Water Environment (2010)

Amidst growing public attention and concern about the possibility of ecosystem and human health effects from pharmaceuticals in water, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) convened a panel of experts to review and discuss existing scientific and policy-related information on the issue of pharmaceuticals in the broader water environment. This 2010 publication summarizes the recommendations of the expert panel on a path forward that will help fill data gaps, better inform the public and regulators, and lead towards sustainable water resources for future generations. The key recommendations include: development and utilization of standardized analytical methods for monitoring programs, the use of health-based screening values to determine if additional water treatment is warranted, and additional research to evaluate the impact of mixtures and low-level chronic exposure.

Confronting Climate Change: An Early Analysis of Water and Wastewater Costs (2009)

This October 2009 report is an early cost assessment of adaptations to address some of the likely impacts of climate change on our nation’s drinking water and wastewater utilities through 2050. This time period is selected because it represents the timeframe within which we best understand climate change effects and their impacts on drinking water and wastewater utilities, and it is consistent with the typical planning horizon of many utilities. The assessment indicates that the cost to utilities could range from $448 billion to $944 billion.

Public Information Needs During Water Emergencies (2012)

In May 2012, EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) released Need to Know: Anticipating the Public's Questions during a Water Emergency. The report provides the results of interviews with utility managers, communications staff and focus groups of members of the public. Utility staff interviewed for this project were from the City of Chicago, San Diego Public Utilities, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The conclusions can help utilities develop a public engagement strategy in advance of a water emergency. WaterISAC and AMWA assisted NHSRC with the study and the published report.

MWRA Emergency Response Case Study (2010)

Multi-agency Response to a Major Water Pipe Break: A Massachusetts Case Study and Evaluation is an important new resource for the nation’s water utility managers – an in-depth look at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) response to a major pipe break in May 2010 involving more than two million people and thousands of large industrial users in 30 metropolitan Boston communities. The comprehensive review, co-sponsored by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, WaterISAC and the Water Research Foundation, and funded through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, presents a solid example of the drinking water emergency response process and analyzes the challenges, successes and lessons related to the process.

The report, produced by Stratus Consulting, incorporates assessment and analysis of the actions of MWRA and other state and local responders involved in the incident. It identifies areas where the responders acted successfully as well as areas where they encountered challenges, and provides valuable recommendations based on lessons learned.

Protecting the Water Sector from Security Threats: The Emerging Legal and Policy Frameworks (2007)

This 2007 publication from AMWA, NACWA, WEF and APWA looks at the nature of terrorist threats to water sector infrastructure, the federal legislative framework for protecting infrastructure, vulnerability assessments, utilities’ duties to protect the public and employees, potential liability for consequences of terrorist acts, obtaining sensitive employee information, managing sensitive information, contract issues and insurance.

Implementing Asset Management: A Practical Guide (2007)

Faced with the challenges of aging infrastructure, the lack of funding, and the desire to maintain affordable rates, while meeting the customer's needs, utility managers are looking for more effective ways to make decisions about capital improvement and infrastructure maintenance. Written in 2007, Implementing Asset Management: A Practical Guide provides utility professionals a step-by-step guide to continued improvement in the management of their infrastructure assets. Depending on the availability of resources, utilities can address their infrastructure assets at a broad, system-wide level by grouping assets or drill-down to individual assets components and elements. Published by AMWA, NACWA, and WEF. Contact AMWA's Carolyn Peterson for ordering information.

AMWA Member Price $95
Non-member Price $200

Building The Water Utility Brand — Practical Advice for Increasing Trust, Support, and Investment (2006)

This 2006 AMWA management manual, written by marketing and branding expert John Ruetten, makes a strong case for utilities to adopt the proven marketing strategy of branding to establish the value of water and successfully compete for customers' investment dollars. Exploring the politics of investment in water, negative branding of water utilities, and opportunities provided by a strong positive brand, Ruetten goes through the steps of defining and implementing the utility brand. The manual clears up myths about the branding process and shows why branding does not require large expenditures.

Member Price $25 | Non-member Price $35

The Changing Workforce - Seizing the Opportunity (2006)

This 2006 publication builds on the strategies first presented in The Changing Workforce…Crisis & Opportunity and goes a step further to equip water and wastewater utilities with the tools necessary to effectively develop and implement a systematic succession management program to drive effective workforce sustainability. Produced and published by AMWA and the NACWA, this practical handbook presents succession management as the critical piece that holds together workforce recruitment, development and retention. In addition to outlining a succession planning master process, the handbook includes case studies and specific tools to tailor the master process to your utility in order to establish a successful program.

Member Price $50 | Non-member Price $75

Purchase both Changing Workforce publications as a package:
Member Price $75 | Non-member Price $100

The Changing Workforce - Crisis & Opportunity (2004)

A collaborative effort between AMWA and the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA), this 2004 publication examines the increasing demand for qualified, skilled employees increasing while the supply for these resources is decreasing. What began initially as a gradual change has accelerated in recent years. What is the change and what is causing the change? What happens when a keystone worker, or a slew of workers, leaves? The workforce is gradually reaching retirement age and utilities are offering incentives to their staff to take early retirement. As the workforce retires and leaves the public sector, the staff take along a remarkable wealth of operational and maintenance knowledge and information. How can your utility compete?

$35 per copy.

Evaluating Privatization II - An AMSA/AMWA Checklist (2002)

Written in 2002, Evaluating Privatization II updates and expands the content of Evaluating Privatization published by AMSA in 1996. In addition to providing information on developments occurring since 1996, this new publication incorporates the issues and implication for public drinking water utilities along with those of public wastewater utilities featured in the initial publication. (56 Pages)

Public vs. Private: Comparing the Costs - An AMWA/AMSA Report (2003)

Written in 2003, Public vs. Private: Comparing the Costs provides an in-depth examination of specific processes and results of managed competitions between public providers and private firms and complements the content of the AMSA/AMWA publication, Evaluating Privatization II. This publication is must for public water and wastewater decision makers as they evaluate the merits of public utility management and operation alternatives and, ultimately select the best course of action. (36 Pages).