2016 Gold Award for Exceptional Utility Performance

AMWA’s 2016 Gold Awards for Exceptional Utility Performance were presented to:

  • Central Arizona Project
  • Coachella Valley Water District (California)
  • Montgomery County Environmental Services (Ohio)
  • Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (Louisiana)
  • City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (Virginia)

The Central Arizona Project (CAP) plays a critical economic role, delivering more than 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually to municipal, industrial, agricultural and Native American water users. CAP works collaboratively with customers, government agencies, water users in the seven basin states and the Republic of Mexico to address regional water supply issues.  The agency helped develop cooperative interstate and international agreements designed to conserve Colorado River water and ensure the continued reliability and sustainability of that shared water supply.  It employs open, transparent budgeting and rate-setting processes, and a recent assessment found CAP’s asset management program led all surveyed North American utilities.

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is a multi-faceted California Special District serving more than 318,000 people across a 1,000 square-mile area in portions of Riverside and Imperial counties. Services include drinking water for homes and businesses, irrigation water imported from the Colorado River, recycled water for golf course and landscape-related use, wastewater treatment, regional stormwater protection, groundwater basin management and conservation programs and education for customers. Strategic plan goals include employee workforce development, financial stability, water supply sustainability, exceptional customer service, water quality and environmental leadership, and infrastructure investment and management.  Progress is measured using the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) matrix.

Montgomery County Environmental Services provides high quality water, wastewater, solid waste and recycling service to citizens in Southwest Ohio. Its innovative “block and index” energy purchasing strategy has allowed the utility, since 2013, to reduce energy costs by 15 percent. Leadership development is addressed through a cross-department Executive Steering Team and a Managers Bookclub for middle management, which provides training in team building, effective communication and understanding personal strengths and weaknesses. The department also opened a state-of-the-art Environmental Learning Center, constructed with sustainable building materials and designed to educate citizens about utility services, waste reduction, recycling and water conservation.

In recent years, the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB) coordinated a massive rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure with the city’s Department of Public Works, accelerating the timeframe of recovery and saving taxpayers millions of dollars of unnecessary duplicative efforts. A $2.1 billion Hurricane Katrina FEMA settlement was negotiated and the funds used to construct the Southeast Louisiana (SELA) drainage program to prevent street flooding in parts of the city previously damaged by heavy rains. The utility is also constructing a Water Hammer to mitigate boil water advisories and is replacing 124 miles of water lines. S&WB has produced seven green infrastructure projects and is planning a green roof for its main office downtown.

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU) Enterprise Asset Management Plan assists in coordinating planning and management of projects across the city and includes components to maintain inventory and maintenance schedules, track key performance indicators and capture Standard Operating Procedures in a centralized location. DPU has continually been in compliance with all federal and state drinking water requirements and new technologies have been adopted to improve operational efficiencies. The Department engages and educates customers through its website, newsletters, social media posts and advertising. DPU staff present information at community meetings, and a Citizens’ Academy was developed to provide a more in-depth look at utility operations.