2017 Sustainable Water Utility Management Award

The 2017 AMWA Sustainable Water Utility Management Award winners were:

  • Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (Georgia)
  • Fairfax Water (Virginia)
  • Glendale Water Services Department (Arizona)
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (California)
  • Onondaga County Water Authority (New York)
  • Orange County Utilities (Florida)

The Atlanta Department of Watershed Management’s One Water Vision Strategic Plan serves as a blueprint to ensure a sustainable and modern water infrastructure through a five-year, $1.2 billion capital improvement program. Watershed Management has been recognized and awarded for sustainability efforts through upgrades to water and wastewater revenue refunding bonds. Its far-reaching green infrastructure initiatives include the largest permeable paver retrofit project in the nation.  And the agency is proactively planning to increase Atlanta’s water supply reserve.

Fairfax Water’s approach to financial management meets long-term financial obligations while providing an excellent value to its customers.  This is accomplished via careful rate setting, a capital improvement plan and a robust asset management program.  The utility puts a focus on environmental stewardship in projects like the future Vulcan Quarry Water Supply Reservoir, a cost-effective and innovative solution to meet the region’s future water supply needs. It continues its 40-year history of indirect potable reuse in the Occoquan Reservoir.  An on-going focus on social responsibility is demonstrated through creation of River Mill Park and its Water Supply Outreach Grant Program.

Glendale Water Services Department leads the city’s sustainability efforts, which include assuring a 100-year water supply, promoting energy and water conservation, protecting the watershed, mitigating air pollution and safeguarding the community from environmental hazards.  In financial sustainability, a balance is maintained between assets, expenditures and debt service, achieving performance measures set by utility managers and bond raters. The utility takes its social responsibilities seriously with initiatives including an award-winning storm water sustainability tool kit for low impact development.  It is responsible to its civic leaders through its Citizens Utilities Advisory Commission and to stakeholders through its Branding and Public Outreach Committee.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reached its goal of 20 percent water savings through multiple programs, practices and technologies, in conjunction with enactment of conservation ordinances and plumbing code modifications. The US Green Building Council awarded LEED Gold status to its headquarters building for making energy efficiency improvements. Ground was broken for the Tujunga Spreading Grounds Enhancement Project, which will double the stormwater capture capacity of the facility.  The utility deployed 90 million shade balls to the Los Angeles Reservoir to help meet the bromate drinking water standard and control algae, saving money and ensuring water quality.

Onondaga County Water Authority’s 7G Green Team initiative engages employees in the pursuit of more sustainable practices, building on innovative programs to deliver continuous and measurable results. From sustainable design and construction practices, to collaborative watershed management programs, to cutting-edge unmanned aerial systems used to inspect tanks and monitor surface water quality, the Authority is taking action and tracking key performance indicators to assure it is financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. Particularly meaningful is the historic consolidation with the Metropolitan Water Board to operate, maintain and invest in the entire regional water system under the more independent authority governance structure.

Orange County Utilities’ strategic plan was updated to meet the challenges of the county’s comprehensive community-based sustainability plan called “Our Home for Life.” Two focus areas were emphasized to meet those challenges – development of sustainable alternative water supplies beyond the current ground water sources and cultivating a sustainable workforce while celebrating many well-deserved retirements.  The utility worked collaboratively with five other water systems to develop a 20 MGD alternative water source and developed a Skilled Workforce Achievement Program that was initially a utility-only initiative but evolved into a county-wide effort.