Water Supply Resilience

Why It Matters


Water is an essential resource to the communities we serve, and as a finite resource, we must manage water supplies in a manner that is sustainable and safeguards the long-term needs of our customers. Climate change could have significant and negative impacts on our business and our customers by affecting the availability of water supply. As concern for climate change impacts grows, we want to inform and educate our stakeholders about our actions to protect water supplies and maintain access to safe and reliable water now and in the future.


Our Approach

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Our ability to deliver water to our customers in a safe and reliable manner depends on our efforts to protect drinking water at the source. When selecting our water supplies, we consider the source’s ability to meet the anticipated long-term needs of our customers. We can identify and mitigate the impacts of potential future threats to our existing sources of supply through RRAs that inform our operational approach and potential need for capital investment. Our goal is effective mitigation of any potential risks and maintenance of sufficient, high-quality water supplies for our customers.


Our Performance


We measure the effectiveness of our water supply management by tracking indicators for water withdrawals, usage trends, water losses and allocation compliance. This data helps us to better understand our water usage, consumption and best practices to strengthen our resiliency.

In 2021, we announced a new goal under which we will increase our water system resiliency to respond to more extreme events, measured as a 10% increase in the URI by 2030 (from a 2020 weighted average baseline). The URI is part of the AWWA J100 standard and assesses a community’s ability to absorb and cope with an incident and return to normal operations as quickly as possible. The URI grades on a numeric scale from 0–100, with 60–70 identified as relatively resilient. In 2020, we baselined our facilities with an average grade of approximately 66. To learn more about our environmental goals, please visit our website.

American Water has already begun to identify areas for investment in line with this climate variability/water supply resilience goal, including additional training and education for our employees, updating and enhancing emergency plans, maintaining an inventory of critical parts and increasing emergency power capacity and available water storage. We will also implement and expand current programs, such as emergency response exercises and participation in utility community cooperatives such as WARN.

To supplement our new goal, we are also working on other ways to measure water supply resilience performance. For example we began tracking water stress in all of our water systems. We will be moving our reporting to MapCall to allow us to streamline our data into one location, eliminating our former reliance on multiple data locations to manage our operations. By using MapCall, we can more efficiently track and measure our performance across a number of key performance indicators.