Water Utility Management
As the nation’s largest drinking utilities, AMWA’s members face a complex range of management challenges. The association’s advocacy for science-based, cost-effective laws and regulations support water executives in their work to provide clean, safe water to their customers at affordable prices. Support also includes advocacy for tax-exempt bonds to finance water infrastructure, as well as federal funding programs targeted to advance the infrastructure needs of public water systems.
AMWA is engaged on municipal finance issues involving developments in the bond market and municipal bond ratings. In 2019, AMWA released a white paper describing the growing interest bond rating agencies and insurance companies have in climate change and its effects on utilities. The paper also presents information utility managers should know as they consider how climate change is impacting not only water agency planning and operations but also creditworthiness, insurance coverage, and municipal bond buyers. It concludes with several suggested next steps in enterprise risk management.
In June 2017, AMWA updated its Green Bond Market whitepaper. The whitepaper, first developed for AMWA members in October 2016, provides an overview of the green bond market, a description of the third party assessment approaches available for green bond verifcation, results of a 2016 survey of member perspectives on the green bond market and several case study examples of AMWA member utilities that have issued green bonds.
AMWA has also provided water utility perspectives to the bond rating agencies in comments to Moody's, S&P and the Climate Bonds Initiative.
Publicly owned water utilities have achieved a competitive position by integrating into their operations the best practices found in both the public and private sectors, and so AMWA advocates for legislation or regulation that do not reflect a preference in favor of the privatization of publicly owned drinking water agencies (ranging from the sale of assets to contract operations). It is AMWA’s position that privatization decisions must be left to the local decision makers most directly affected.
Effective Utility Management
AMWA works cooperatively with other organizations to develop sound programs to assist in achieving effective utility management. Key AMWA staff and member activities include working with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and update utility management programs such as the Effective Utility Management (EUM) initiative that defined ten attributes of effectively managed water utilities and five keys to management success. This framework has been widely adopted throughout the water sector and serves as the criteria for AMWA’s utility management awards.
Value of Water
AMWA is also a supporter of the Value of Water campaign, a group of both public and private members of the water industry that has come together to help the public understand the real value of water in their daily lives – recognizing how water works to connect us, how it is integral to growing jobs and opportunities, how it contributes to safe and healthy communities and how it sustains the environment in which we live.
The coalition launched an innovative national communications campaign in 2013 based on a strong foundation of opinion research and message testing. The campaign employs many of the latest tools of the Internet and social media to inform Americans about the value of water and the challenges facing water infrastructure and offers a toolbox of communication resources for use by water utilities to support the value of water message.