The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) have announced an agreement to more closely collaborate on programs, services and major policy issues.

The resolution states that the organizations “resolve to support and lead, as necessary, an effort to develop a cohesive voice for the water community by encouraging collaboration between our members, coordinating programs and services, and developing consensus on major water policy issues.”

The agreement grew from a conversation among AWWA’s and WEF’s presidential officers and treasurers, who gathered in Washington, D.C. during the fall of 2010 to explore opportunities to work together. WEF’s board of directors approved the resolution at its Nov. 10 meeting, and AWWA’s board completed the approval process Jan. 24 at its meeting in San Antonio. With the resolution in place, leaders from both organizations will develop a work plan for 2011 and subsequent years to fulfill the spirit of the agreement.

“This resolution enhances our existing efforts to work more closely together to advance sound water policy, the interests of our members and the publics they serve,” says WEF president Jeannette Brown. “Both AWWA and WEF are excited to explore future partnerships that make the water profession’s collective voice even stronger.”

“The water industry has changed in recent years, and our work is no longer easily defined as either ‘water’ or ‘wastewater,’” remarks AWWA president Joseph Mantua. “AWWA and WEF recognize that, now more than ever, increased collaboration will benefit members from both organizations, and improve our collective effectiveness, particularly in matters of public policy.”

AWWA and WEF already work together on many initiatives, including the Young Professionals Summit, the Utility Management Conference, the Work for Water workforce development project, and in many other areas. As a first step under the new resolution, the organizations recently announced plans to combine forces for the 2011 Water Matters! Fly In, which will bring more than 150 leaders from both organizations to Washington, D.C., in April to address Congress on key water issues.