News | April 11, 2019

Water 'Utilities Of The Future' Gaining Visibility

Recognition Program Fielding Applications

The Utility of the Future Today recognition program returns for a fourth year to honor water resource recovery facilities for community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients. The deadline to apply for recognition this year is May 31.

The Utility of the Future concept is being promoted as the nation's water systems transform operations through innovation and technology. The Utility of the Future is a model for utilities of all sizes to achieve more efficient operations, enhanced productivity, and long-term sustainability. More than 110 utilities have been recognized since the launch of the program in 2016.

"Utility of the Future candidates and award-winners are doing incredibly innovative work to advance our communities' and nation's environmental well-being and economic viability," says the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) CEO, Adam Krantz. "Hopefully these utilities will inspire others to move forward and make the 'Utility of the Future' the 'utility of today' as well."

"It is inspiring to see the many ways utilities are using innovation to approach and respond to the challenges they face," said Water Environment Federation (WEF) Executive Director Eileen O'Neill. "WEF and the other partners are proud to continue supporting and celebrating those utilities that are improving the way they serve their communities."

The Utility of the Future activity areas focus on the key building blocks of this transformation:

  • Recovery and new uses of a range of resources;
  • Engagement as a leader in the full water cycle and broader social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the community;
  • Engagement in the community and formation of partnerships necessary for success when operating outside of the traditional span of the utility; and
  • Transformation of the internal utility culture in support of these innovations.

Public and private water sector utilities of all sizes that can demonstrate achievement of the application requirements are encouraged to apply by 5:00 pm ET, May 31. Applicants must have no major permit violations in the year prior to the submission date of their applications.

Honorees will be notified during the summer and formally recognized during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2019—WEF's 92nd annual technical exhibition and conference—this September in Chicago.

Two webinars are scheduled for utilities wishing to learn more about the program and the application process. The webinars are scheduled on April 9 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET, and on May 2 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET (register here).

Since the Utility of the Future concept was introduced in 2013, many utilities have successfully implemented new and creative programs to address local wastewater technical and community challenges. The recognition program was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and the WateReuse Association —with input from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For more information, visit https://www.wef.org/utility-of-the-future/

About NACWA
For nearly 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation's recognized leader in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide, who together serve nearly 125 million people. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for all member utilities, and ensures they have the tools necessary to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all. Our vision is to represent every public clean water utility as a NACWA member, helping to build a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit www.nacwa.org.

About WEF
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 35,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, our mission is to connect water professionals; enrich the expertise of water professionals; increase the awareness of the impact and value of water; and provide a platform for water sector innovation. For more information, visit www.wef.org.

SOURCE: The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)