The Water Research Foundation (WRF) conducts research related to drinking water quality, treatment and utility infrastructure to help water providers and public health agencies provide safe and affordable drinking water. Approximately 950 utilities, manufacturers, and consultants subscribe to the foundation’s research, most of which are based in the U.S., but many are international. Since 1966, the foundation has funded more than $500 million worth of research and more than 1,100 studies. It promotes global collaboration and prudent resource management by pooling and leveraging funding for water research.
The foundation, originally named the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF), was launched in 1966 with seed money from the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and a few federal grants. In 1983, then-chair Kenneth J. Miller brought together the three major North American water supply organizations — AWWA, the National Association of Water Companies, and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies — to support the Foundation's mission. According to EPA officials interviewed for an oral history of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act’s early implementation, the law really provided the impetus for the water industry's development and expansion of its own research program, which evolved from the American Water Works Association and other organizations to become WRF.