2018 Sustainable Water Utility Management Award
The 2018 AMWA Sustainable Water Utility Management Award winners were:
- Boston Water and Sewer Commission
- Chicago Department of Water Management
- Denver Water
- East Bay Municipal Utility District (California)
- Las Vegas Valley Water District
- Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
- Scottsdale Water
- Tucson Water
Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) has committed resources to improving operations, maintaining fiscal responsibility and increasing public awareness to improve water quality and protect the environment. BWSC is a committed environmental steward, aiming to utilize its infrastructure to its maximum efficiency. The utility is continually dedicating resources to efforts such as improving operations and services to its ratepayers, as well as controlling pollution to keep Boston’s harbor, beaches and rivers clean. As a self-funding agency, BWSC fights aggressively to maintain equitable and affordable rates. The utility also has developed and implemented green infrastructure and low impact development throughout numerous construction projects such as a $1.5 million collaboration with the Boston Public Schools.
The Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) approach to sustainability involves ongoing improvement projects, proactive financial management, commitment to the environment and ongoing efforts to interact and stay involved with the utility’s community. An aggressive revitalization program is underway to improve its infrastructure, including replacement of water and sewer mains as well as improvements to its two water purification plants and 12 pumping stations. These projects endeavor to incorporate green initiatives as well as modernize equipment to streamline utility efficiency. DWM also led a successful initiative to install residential water meters to help promote awareness for water usage and water conservation.
At Denver Water, promoting sustainable water use and environmental stewardship has been a top priority since its inception 100 years ago. The utility is incorporating sustainability into everything it does, from energy and transportation to water and materials, land use, people, and infrastructure and assets. Responsible, sustainable financial practices keep rates low, ensuring customers have some of the most affordable water in the region. Denver Water is incorporating green building practices into all of its new construction, including its new 35-acre main campus. Steps are being taken toward becoming an energy-neutral organization by 2020, and the utility continues to build on its award-winning campaign to help customers use water efficiently in its dry climate.
East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) practices integrated water resources planning, asset management, water conservation and recycling, renewable energy, natural resource management and climate change response. Water supply planning to a 2040 horizon includes regional conjunctive use, increased conservation, recycling and potential potable reuse, and aggressive drought actions. Infrastructure renewal focuses on resilience to sea level rise, seismic events, increased urbanization and prolonged drought. Its financial management has sustained strong bond ratings, while pioneering green bond issues and ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards in retirement system investments. To sustain the community EBMUD has expanded customer rate assistance, local contracting and local job opportunities.
The Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) capital improvement plan, asset management and reserve policies provide long-term financial security and support planning for infrastructure and water resources. Construction of the Lake Mead Intake No. 3 and a low lake level pumping station, along with water banking, intentionally created surplus and return flow credits, help LVVWD offset potential supply shortages associated with drought and climate change. The utility prides itself in community involvement through citizens advisory committees, conservation programs, education through outreach and marketing, and providing valued learning experiences at its Springs Preserve, a 180-acre cultural institution designed to commemorate Las Vegas' dynamic history and to provide a vision for a sustainable future.
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) provides wholesale water and wastewater service to the Boston metropolitan area. Its rates not only reflect the true cost of water, they also provide for maintenance of past investments and allow for modernization and improvement of the water system. Demand management and leak detection have eliminated waste and avoided the need to develop new supply sources. Large, well-protected supply reservoirs are regional resources for stressed water systems during times of drought. The Authority follows a regional model for energy efficiency and green power production: solar, hydro and wind. Climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives include tracking greenhouse gas emissions, flood proofing and resilience measures programmed into all rehabilitation programs.
Scottsdale Water operates one of the most sophisticated indirect potable reuse facilities in the world and has been an industry leader in the realm since its advance water treatment facility began operation in 1998. The utility recharges an average of 1.7 billion gallons of purified recycled water into the aquifer annually, helping ensure long-term water supplies and the integrity of the aquifer. Due to these aggressive recharge efforts, Scottsdale was the first city in Arizona to achieve “safe yield” – pumping less groundwater out of the aquifer than recharging back in – which the state mandated must be achieved by the year 2025. Scottsdale has achieved safe yield every year since 2006.
Tucson Water operations maintain and enhance the sustainability of the community and environment, using an integrated approach to ensure safe, reliable and sufficient water supplies for residential, economic and environmental uses, encouraging conservation and maximum efficiency for all uses, while maintaining a fair and affordable rate structure. Because of strategic planning, continuous improvement, key investments and a focused water efficiency and conservation program, the utility possesses verifiable water resources that will support the community for the next 100 years. Tucson Water maintains solid credit ratings and financial reserves, which facilitate access to low-cost financing and is committed to establishing financial sustainability and rates that cover the full cost of service and are fair and equitable.