The European Water Association was formally established in 1981 under the name of European Water Pollution Control Association – EWPCA . Then delegates from eleven national professional associations, namely Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland came together in Munich and the Association was established. In 1999 the name was changed to be European Water Association.
The situation completely changed after 1990. The professional organizations in central and eastern European countries, either the already existing or newly established, became independent from the government, which gave them more freedom in their activities on the one hand, however on the other hand this brought about problems with financing. The new situation in the 1990s opened also new fields for the cooperation of professional organizations in Europe.
The need for the cooperation was strengthened by the fact that most of the central and eastern European countries were preparing for joining the European Union which happened in a first step in 2004 and the next step (Bulgaria, Romania) took place in 2007.
In the next stage, countries such as Croatia or Serbia and Montenegro will certainly enter the EU. In this process, the role of the EWA was and still is to prepare the national professional organizations to work in conditions common in the EU, especially as far as the adoption of acquis communautaire is concerned.