Policy Influence

Why It Matters


Our primary goal as a regulated utility is to support laws and policies that enhance our ability to provide safe, affordable and high-quality water and wastewater services to our customers. We engage with every level of government to voice our support for effective policy and provide support that aligns with our business values. We also participate in several non-partisan partnerships to advocate for effective environmental, health and safety and water quality standards and regulations at the local, state and federal level.

We see ourselves as a key stakeholder for policy decisions that affect the water and wastewater utility industry. Our thought leadership can help inform the decisions of regulators or politicians and prevent ineffective or costly regulation that has little benefit to our customers and communities. Our policy influence may also provide communities with more options to address challenges like water scarcity or water affordability and access. We will continue working with regulators and other stakeholders to support responsible policies that enhance our ability to provide our customers with water and wastewater solutions and align with our business. 


Our Approach



Our Code of Ethics governs our interactions with government officials and regulators, including lobbying, political contributions and anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies. We require our employees to complete an annual training on our Code of Ethics. Our Board of Directors must approve any updates or changes to our Code of Ethics. For more details on our Code of Ethics, please read the Business Ethics section of this report. 

Our Political Contribution Policy, most recently updated in 2020, requires that our Board of Directors have direct oversight of our political contributions, and that we publicly disclose our contributions annually.

In early 2021, American Water adopted an Anti-Corruption & Anti-Bribery Policy, underscoring our commitment to engaging with government officials in compliance with applicable anti-corruption laws and regulations in the areas where we operate. In 2021, we will also implement anti-corruption training as we continue to keep the highest standards of integrity front of mind.


The Board of Directors delegates oversight of policy activities and political contributions to two of our Board committees. Our Nominating/Corporate Governance Committee establishes the policies and procedures for Board oversight of public policy activities, while our Safety, Environmental, Technology and Operations Committee reviews any policies and practices that are significant to environmental and business operations and objectives, which may include public policy activities. Our Senior Vice President of Communications and External Affairs supervises the regulatory relationships and engagements across our entire business and works with the Presidents of our state utilities to oversee policies and external affairs. 

Collaboration & Engagement

As a thought-leader in water research, we work closely with the EPA, CDC, state Departments of Environmental Protection, regulatory agencies and other organizations to collaborate on research that informs effective standards and regulations for our industry. We focus primarily on policies relevant to water quality, infrastructure, health and safety and environmental stewardship.

We strive to maintain consistent and meaningful engagement with industry associations and regulators. Through our involvement in such organizations, we help implement best practices, inform regulations and provide safe and reliable water and wastewater services to our customers. We collaborate with industry associations and government agencies through panels, thought leadership, research and other engagements to both share and build our expertise on issues relevant to water and our industry. We will continue to share and discuss best practices throughout the water and wastewater industry.

We focus our efforts on opportunities to support solutions to water and wastewater challenges for our industry, customers and communities, such as water affordability and infrastructure safety and resilience. We tailor our engagement strategy depending on the geographic location, operational challenges and regulatory landscape of each state where we operate.

American Water engages directly with policymakers in a variety of ways, including legislative sessions, educational meetings, conferences and political action committee (PAC) events. In 2020, American Water shifted our engagement to a virtual format to support the health and safety of our employees and stakeholders. It is our hope that our efforts to engage on water policies will continue to benefit our business, our customers and our communities.