2020 Year in Review US Water Alliance

2020 was an unexpected year, full of challenges for the nation and the water sector. COVID-19 has upended life across America, disrupting business as usual everywhere and shifting the way we relate to, and work with, one another. Now, more than ever, One Water is the transformative pathway that the water sector must embrace to recover stronger from this public health and economic crisis.

Despite a tumultuous year, the US Water Alliance is proud to share how we partnered with our members to advance One Water for all. Keep reading to find out what we accomplished!

In 2020, we welcomed 24 new members!

From water utilities to labor unions, from community organizations to academia – our members represent the diversity of stakeholders that are working to solve the One Water challenges facing our nation today.

We released our Three-Year Strategic Framework to guide our work

Developed in collaboration with the US Water Alliance's staff and Board of Directors, the 2020-2023 Strategic Framework provides a "North Star" to guide our work over the next three years.

We published One Water Change Leadership: The Six Essential Capacities

The report, which interviewed 10 dynamic utility executives, identifies and describes the essential change leadership needed in the water sector.

The Value of Water Campaign showcased presidential candidates’ views on water infrastructure

The Value of Water Campaign co-hosted Moving America Forward, a candidate forum devoted to infrastructure issues, featuring now-President-Elect Joe Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, and businessman Tom Steyer.

We released An Equitable Water Future Cleveland and An Equitable Water Future Milwaukee

The reports aim to build shared understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and priorities for action to secure an equitable water future for all Cleveland and Milwaukee residents.

We co-hosted a congressional briefing on Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States

The briefing featured perspectives from communities facing water access challenges -- highlighted in the report Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States -- and shared recommendations for national action.

The Value of Water Campaign revealed voters’ views on water at Water Week

For the fifth year in a row, the Value of Water Campaign surveyed over 1,000 American voters on their priorities for the country. Key poll findings included that 84 percent support increasing federal investment to rebuild the nation’s water infrastructure, and 70 percent of Americans want the president and congress to develop a plan to rebuild water infrastructure.

We unified the sector with Guiding Principles to Secure Our Water Future, in response to COVID-19

The principles were signed by over 250 organizations, business, and water leaders, and defined a cohesive One Water approach to the pandemic and united multiple constituencies and advocates around a common water platform.

We supported our members through the COVID-19 crisis

We helped our members by hosting peer exchanges and developing tools on topics ranging from financial resilience, scenario planning for water utilities, internal communications, and how to address affordability and water shutoffs. We also recognized the efforts of our members' essential workers in the video below.

We illuminated drinking water challenges in Policy Innovations to Secure Drinking Water for All

In June, we published a new report with the Water Foundation on drinking water challenges and inspiring solutions being advanced by diverse stakeholders across the US.

We promoted equitable flood resilience in Water Rising: Equitable Approaches to Urban Flooding

In July, we released a new report that detailed five priority actions that water professionals and communities can take together to advance equitable flood resilience.

We awarded the US Water Prize to six outstanding winners

We celebrated the six winners of the US Water Prize: Denver Water, Marriot International, Iowa Soybean Association, Flint Community Lab, journalist Jose A. Del Real, and US Senator Ben Cardin (MD).

The Value of Campaign championed water infrastructure in The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure

In August, the Value of Water Campaign released a new economic report published in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The report quantified what happens when the nation fails to invest and defined two contrasting futures: a future where we meet our water infrastructure needs, and a future where we allow water infrastructure to fall further and further behind.

We elevated water as a national priority during United for Infrastructure week

The Value of Water Campaign helped reach millions of Americans virtually and supported a national discussion about the importance of investing in our infrastructure.

We launched the Water Equity Network

We launched the Water Equity Network, a nationwide community of practice made up of 17 City Learning Teams with representatives from local utilities, organizations serving vulnerable communities, and environmental groups. The Network helps water and wastewater utilities and communities collaborate to launch and sustain efforts to build an equitable water future.

We welcomed 10 Rising Professionals for our inaugural Mentoring Connections program

The US Water Alliance launched our Mentoring Connections program, an initiative aimed at accelerating change leadership to advance One Water. Our inaugural Rising Professionals cohort will deepen their knowledge of One Water management.

We launched the Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator, and announced our Artist-in-Residence

In early October, the US Water Alliance welcomed Benny Starr as our inaugural One Water Artist-in-Residence! The Alliance also launched the Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator, an initiative to advance arts and cultural strategies in the water sector through cross-sector partnerships.

The Value of Water Campaign celebrated the sixth annual Imagine a Day Without Water

The Value of Water Campaign hosted a virtual National Forum featuring One Water leaders, mayors, and water equity advocates.

We hosted two One Water Leadership Institutes to benefit our members

In October and November, the US Water Alliance hosted One Water Leadership Institutes on Water Equity and Strategic Communications. The members-only Leadership Institutes provided in-depth programming on skills, knowledge, and essential capacities to implement One Water.

We received the 2020 Great Lakes Leadership Award for Communication Excellence

In November, the US Water Alliance was selected by the Great Lakes Protection Fund as a winner of the Great Lakes Leadership Award for excellence in communications. Watch the video about the recognition of our work here.

We helped launch the nation's first Mayors Commission on Water Equity

The US Water Alliance is partnering with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative on the first-ever Mayors Commission on Water Equity.

During these challenging times, community and fellowship are more important than ever. We are grateful for our members, partners, and supporters who continue to help us harness the power of collective action to promote a sustainable future for all. Thank you!

Yours in One Water, the US Water Alliance Team