ACWA is the largest statewide coalition of public water agencies in the country. Our more than 430 public agency members collectively are responsible for 90% of the water delivered to cities, farms and businesses in California. For more than a century, our mission has been clear: to help members promote the development, management and use of good quality water at the lowest practical cost and in an environmentally responsible manner. ACWA serves the water industry and the public by promoting local agencies as the most efficient means of providing water service; sharing reliable scientific and technical information; tracking and shaping state and federal water policy; advocating for sound legislation and regulation; and facilitating cooperation and consensus among all interest groups.
ACWA was formed in 1910 by five irrigation districts. Originally known as the Irrigation Districts Association (IDA), members voted in 1973 to rename the group the Association of California Water Agencies to better reflect its changing role in California.
ACWA’s mission is to assist its members in promoting the development, management and reasonable beneficial use of good quality water at the lowest practical cost in an environmentally balanced manner.
In fulfilling its role, ACWA identifies issues of concern to the water industry and the public it serves; accumulates and communicates the best available scientific and technical information to the public and policy makers; facilitates consensus building; develops reasonable goals and objectives for water resources management; advocates sound legislation; promotes local service agencies as the most efficient means of providing water service; provides additional services of value to its members; and fosters cooperation among all interest groups concerned with stewardship of the state’s water resources.
ACWA has multiple checks and balances to maintain integrity and transparency in all aspects of its operations. The association's annual budget and compensation levels are established according to Board-adopted policies and guidelines.
Investing in a Sustainable Water Future
ACWA has taken a strong policy position to support comprehensive solutions to California’s water problems. In 2005, ACWA issued a major water policy document that called for a comprehensive suite of investments and actions to ensure the state has the water supply system it will need in the coming decades. The document, titled “No Time to Waste: A Blueprint for California Water,” was developed with input from ACWA member agencies throughout the state.
Since the release of the Blueprint in 2005, ACWA has worked to focus the statewide policy debate on the need to improve the sustainability of our statewide water supply and system. ACWA believes investments in our statewide infrastructure, including improvements in water storage capacity and the way water is conveyed through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, are needed to allow California to meet the co-equal goals of environmental health and a reliable water supply.
In addition, the Blueprint called for investments in local resource development strategies such as water use efficiency, water recycling, groundwater storage and desalination.
Leadership and Member Assistance
With its diverse membership and long track record, ACWA occupies a unique niche in California water policy. ACWA engages on an array of legislative and regulatory issues to promote a more reliable and sustainable water system.
It also works hard to assist its members as they implement local resource programs and respond to challenges such climate change. In addition, ACWA undertakes focused policy initiatives aimed at protecting members’ pocketbooks, promoting local management of groundwater basins, protecting water rights and promoting regulatory decisions that facilitate member interests. ACWA is actively working to advance the following policy goals:
- A comprehensive water solution that includes improved Delta conveyance as well as additional water storage, both above ground and below ground.
- Delta solutions that improve the sustainability of our water system, address potential local impacts, increase water supply reliability, enhance water quality and address other Delta stressors.
- Investments in local resource development programs such as water use efficiency, water recycling, groundwater storage and management, and technologies such as desalination.
- Strategies to help ACWA members adapt to climate change and reduce carbon emissions and save ratepayer dollars.
- Protection of member agencies’ funding sources.