2014 Platinum Award for Utility Excellence

Winners of the 2014 AMWA Platinum Awards for Utility Excellence were:

  • Chicago Department of Water Management
  • Orange County Utilities
  •  Tucson Water
  • WaterOne

The Chicago Department of Water Management’s 10-year capital program includes 880 miles of water main replacement, converting three of its four pump stations from steam to electric and more than 200,000 meter installations. To continue to be resilient, resourceful and reliable, the Department is incorporating facility and security assessments, changing work rules, executing competitive contracts, and coordinating with other agencies, utilities and departments.  It is continually training employees to ensure workplace safety, implementing creative and traditional funding to avoid overburdening future generations, and incorporating and optimizing timely, cost-effective, reliable and sustainable performance improvements in all aspects of its operations.

Orange County Utilities’ mission is to provide water resources and solid waste recovery services to protect and enrich the lives of the Florida county’s citizens and millions of annual guests.  Strategies implemented over the last five years have yielded benefits for county residents that have been modeled throughout the state.  These include the use of technology and the untapped talents of employees, who have embraced the need for change, the need for operational improvements and the need for their own skills to be enhanced. The utility’s contributions to the well-being of the area are helping make Orange County a “Water Smart” community.

Tucson Water’s proactive investments in supply availability and infrastructure development are demonstrated in the Clearwater Program, an innovative recharge and recovery project that delivers the majority of Tucson’s water supply, and its recycled water master plan. Reliability-centered maintenance led to a high ratio of planned vs. reactive infrastructure maintenance, and an acoustic fiber optic monitoring system protects the system’s pipeline. Community relations are defined by transparency, as demonstrated by work with the Citizens' Water Advisory Committee on financial and rate-setting decisions, and the water reliability program, which communicates the utility’s focus on water supply, water quality, customer service, infrastructure and operations, and efficiency.

WaterOne’s strategic business planning allowed the utility to grow from a capacity of five MGD in 1957 to over 210 MGD in 2014, making it the largest public water utility in Kansas. The utility focuses on enhancing communications, customer service, safety and security, fleet and emergency preparedness. It optimizes its production and distribution processes, including a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory. WaterOne has been recognized for its self-initiated water quality standards, which are more stringent than state and federal requirements. It earns exceptionally high bond ratings while offering some of the most affordable water rates in its area and consistently scores in the top percentiles for customer satisfaction.