Water Equity Clearinghouse

Alliance for Water Efficiency


The Alliance for Water Efficiency is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated solely to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in North America. AWE is working towards a world where communities, businesses, and ecosystems have the water they need to thrive today and into the future. Working with more than 400 water suppliers, business and industry, and regulatory and advocacy organizations, AWE delivers innovative tools and training to encourage cost-effective water conservation programs, cutting-edge research, and policy solutions for a sustainable water future. As a diverse collective of organizations and individuals who represent the best practices and minds, together with their communities, AWE is making a real difference in preserving our most vital resource.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

We believe that an “equitable water future” is one built on efficiency and conservation. Communities that value equity, affordability and inclusion will prioritize investments in water efficiency as the first and best strategy in their integrated water management plan. Water efficiency and conservation keeps water available and affordable for all by stretching supplies. It can help avoid unnecessary investments in infrastructure that’s not needed, the costs for which will be borne disproportionately by the lower income customers. This has been proven in several communities, where long-term commitments to water conservation have kept water rates lower for residents. Communities that jump to investing in new capital projects and infrastructure to manage their water issues will inevitably alienate their most disadvantaged communities - through water rate increases that might have been avoided by learning to do more with less.

AWE is also working to advance water equity by helping water providers design more affordable, equitable water rates. Water rates that prioritize conservation and affordability help support a utility’s long-term fiscal health and keep water accessible for low-income customers. AWE provides tools and resources to help water managers better design, evaluate and implement affordable water rates.

Below are a series of resources for a variety of stakeholders, including water managers, elected officials, and community leaders, to help with these issues.

Water Affordability: Three reports explain how conservation has helped keep water affordable in communities in Arizona and Colorado. A related video explains why rates rise and how water conservation contributes to more affordable rates.

Rate Design: The AWE Sales Forecasting and Rate Model helps water managers design rates that promote efficiency and affordability for all customers.

Fixed Charges: This Fact Sheet and associated blog post help explain how increasing fixed charges for water impacts affordability and equity.