Group of happy members

St. Louis, 1881

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.” 

On Jan. 1, 1976, AWWA filed Articles of Incorporation in Illinois that reframed AWWA's purpose as follows: 

"The purpose for which the Association is formed is to promote public health, safety, and welfare through the improvement of the quality and quantity of water delivered to the public and the development and furtherance of understanding of the problems relating thereto by:

  • Advancing the knowledge of the design, construction, operation, water treatment and management of water utilities and developing standards for procedures, equipment and materials used by public water supply systems;
  • Advancing the knowledge of the problems involved in the development of resources, production and distribution of safe and adequate water supplies;
  • Educating the public on the problems of water supply and promoting a spirit of cooperation between consumers and suppliers in solving these problems; and
  • Conducting research to determine the causes of problems of providing a safe and adequate water supply and proposing solutions thereto in an effort to improve the quality and quantity of the water supply provided to the public.

The history of AWWA is the history of the people who have committed themselves to achieving the purpose set forth more than a century ago, now simply stated as creating a better world through better water.

AWWAIndia 2015

AWWA has had a long and fruitful relationship with India. The water professionals in India had formed a similar association called the Indian Water Works Association (IWWA) in 2002. During the June 2007 Annual Convention & Exposition (ACE) event in Toronto, AWWA entered a MoU with IWWA. The seeds of a full-fledged Indian chapter of AWWA were planted then.

The June 2014 ACE held in Boston saw a visit by nearly two dozen Indian water industry professionals, most of them AWWA members. Here the challenges faced by modern-day India regarding safe and clean water access were recognized by the US water leaders and the US Environmental Protection Agency, as being similar to those faced by the United States at the time of the founding of AWWA in 1881.

The rest, as they say is history. The blueprint was laid out and after due deliberations, AWWA is all set to open its Indian chapter with an office in Mumbai, which will support Indian members throughout the country .

It may be notable to mention here that AWWAindia is the first international office of AWWA and with which it brings its vision for the preservation, management and distribution of clean water throughout India.