Connecting Waterpeople

Cross-sector collaboration imagines the future of water, recommends economics-focused strategies

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American Water Works Association
The American Water Works Association is an international, nonprofit, scientific and educational society dedicated to providing total water solutions assuring the effective management of water.


  • Cross-sector collaboration imagines the future of water, recommends economics-focused strategies

A diverse group of influential thinkers from within and outside the water community put forth nine recommendations for an economically sustainable water future in the third think tank report of the Water 2050 initiative.

Published by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Water 2050 Economics Think Tank Report is the third in a series of five think tank reports associated with the initiative. Water 2050 seeks to envision the future of water and chart a course for sustainability.

The 26 participants in the Water 2050 Economics Think Tank, which took place Jan. 23-25, 2023, at the Penn Club in New York City, included highly respected voices from the water and wastewater utility, manufacturing and consulting community, as well as regulators and academics, CEOs and climate advocates and infrastructure and financial services experts. The group engaged in a series of facilitated discussions and developed recommended actions that can be grouped into three broad categories:

  • Reimagine the water economy
  • Embrace innovative economic models
  • Mobilize the water community

A fourth think tank on the subject of governance wrapped up Wednesday in Washington, D.C., and the final think tank, focusing on social/demographics, is scheduled for late April in Birmingham, Alabama. High-level recommendations are reported after each think tank, and after all five are completed, the reports will be combined with additional Water 2050 inputs into a final report. Outcomes will be presented at AWWA’s 2023 Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE23) in Toronto to support the water community in realizing the Water 2050 vision.

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