2016 Sustainable Water Utility Management Award

The 2016 AMWA Sustainable Water Utility Management Award winners were:

  • DC Water (District of Columbia)
  • Louisville Water Company (Kentucky)
  • San Diego County Water Authority (California)
  • San Diego Public Utilities (California)
  • Western Virginia Water Authority (Virginia)

DC Water has tripled its water main replacement program, supported by changing its water rate structure to create a dedicated $40 million annually. To fund large-scale environmental projects, the utility issued an innovative green century bond in 2014. Its $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project will significantly reduce the combined sewer overflows and a $470 million waste-to-energy project uses innovative technology to turn residuals from the wastewater treatment process into electricity and a beneficial soil amendment. DC Water’s research teams have provided insights into the effects of galvanized plumbing on lead leaching and leading to advancements in thermal hydrolysis.

Louisville Water Company adopted the Effective Utility Management performance benchmarking framework and also makes use of a 20-year facilities plan, a five-year capital improvement plan, and both five- and ten-year financial projections. Its asset management program is focused on transmission main assessments, lead service replacements, water main and fire hydrant rehabilitation and replacements, and water storage tank inspections and restoration.  Its customer outreach with the pure tap program serves tap water at hundreds of events and includes an education and social media campaign, drinking water fountain signage and partnerships with local businesses that serve tap water. 

San Diego County Water Authority’s sustainability mindset saves ratepayers money, reduces the environmental impacts of projects and operations, conserves energy and water, and helps the agency thrive in a changing climate. A central goal is ensuring that existing and planned facilities are built and operated to minimize effects on the environment and to mitigate any unavoidable impacts. In 2014, the Authority adopted its first Climate Action Plan and completed the San Vicente Dam Raise, a key element of the agency’s long-term strategy for providing sustainable water supplies in dry years. In 2015, the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant started delivering drought-proof water to San Diego County.

The City of San Diego Public Utilities Department (PUD) maintains numerous award-winning community outreach, education and conservation programs and is proud of its water rate assistance program for low-income residents.  The utility has implemented energy and carbon management strategies, including resource recovery, to ensure optimal energy usage, storage and production levels. It is implementing a multi-year Pure Water San Diego Program that uses proven technology to clean recycled wastewater to produce sustainable, high-quality water. Its rate structures utilize industry-recognized rate-making practices to cover cost of services and maintain a balance between long term debt, asset values, O&M expenditures, and revenues and expenses. 

Western Virginia Water Authority’s fiscal policy includes a rate structure that provides for reliable daily operations, continued infrastructure replacement and a healthy financial standing to allow it to fund long-term capital projects and reserve accounts. Long-term sustainability also includes protecting current water supplies, planning for future sources and identifying leaks that can lead to non-revenue water.  Current water supplies are protected by best management practices and conservation easements while water infrastructure projects are nearing completion to connect to the Authority’s future source of water.  Community outreach includes educational programs offered for all school-aged students, recreational opportunities and a close relationship with local economic development organizations.