The groups earned a 2015 Power of A Gold Award
The American Water Works Assn. (AWWA), the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) received a 2015 Power of A Gold Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) for their work on the passage of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
ASAE’s Power of A Awards reward outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals for their efforts to enrich lives, create a competitive workforce, prepare society for the future, drive innovation and make a better world.
“WEF is proud to have worked with AWWA and AMWA to develop and share a solid, unified message about the importance of water infrastructure financing,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “In addition to raising awareness among policymakers, water utilities are now equipped with a new, innovative financing tool to help address their water infrastructure challenges. We are pleased and honored by ASAE’s recognition of this important effort."
WIFIA was passed in June 2014 to provide loans to drinking water and wastewater utilities at long-term U.S. Treasury rates for projects too large our beyond the usual scope of traditional water loan instruments. AWWA, WEF and AMWA coordinated staff and member expertise and grassroots lobbying efforts to educate congressional members and other imperative organizations about WIFIA.
“WIFIA secured bipartisan support on Capitol Hill because the water sector worked cooperatively to educate lawmakers about how the new program would fill a void in federal infrastructure financing policy,” added AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei. “Our organizations unified around a common message, and utilities across the country amplified that message to their own members of Congress. We are thankful to ASAE for recognizing the hard work that went into this effort.”
The three organizations also engaged interested groups such as the League of Cities, Conference of Mayors, the American Beverage Assn. and others to cosign letters of support for WIFIA that went to Congress.
As a result of the outreach efforts, congressional offices and other associated organizations in Washington, D.C. now reach out to water associations more frequently when they have questions about municipal water and wastewater issues.
“The United States needs to invest about $2 trillion in the next 30 years to maintain current levels of water service, but we must keep rates affordable at the same time. WIFIA will provide access to low-cost capital for water infrastructure projects too large for traditional finance tools,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “We are very proud of this work and appreciate the acknowledgment from ASAE.”