Previous Winners

2016 Winners

DC Water
Innovation is key to creating a one water future, which is why the US Water Alliance selected DC Water to receive a 2016 US Water Prize. DC Water’s Resource Recovery Program – the first of its kind in North America and the largest in the world – has captured attention around the globe by producing a net 10 megawatts of electricity from the wastewater treatment process. This clean and renewable energy offsets the energy needs of the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant by approximately one-third. The project broke ground in 2011 and is the product of extensive research and piloting by DC Water’s award-winning wastewater and resource recovery team. The facilities include a dewatering building, 32 thermal hydrolysis vessels, four 80-foot tall concrete digesters and three turbines the size of jet engines. The energy is created by using innovative technology that had never been used in North America.
Dow

By 2025, Dow committed via its Sustainability Goals to deliver at least one major industry breakthrough collaboration project to advance a circular economy in water reuse. Dow's commitment to global water conservation for a more sustainable one water future is why the US Water Alliance selected the company as a 2016 Water Prize winner. Dow's Minimal Liquid Discharge model, based on proven water filtration technologies, is a sustainable and cost-effective way for companies to improve their water footprint – enabling recovery of up to 95 percent of liquid discharges. The company is confident that it can achieve its goal if it stays focused on its priorities – to lead courageous collaborations, offer options that facilitate water reuse to access new sources of clean water, and deliver technologies that close the loop on water.

Emory University

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy called the WaterHub at Emory “a model for us all” when she visited the facility in 2015. The first system of its kind installed in the United States, the WaterHub is a campus-scale water reclamation system serving Emory University’s main campus in Atlanta, Georgia. The WaterHub utilizes an eco-engineered treatment process to recycle nearly two-thirds of campus wastewater production – reducing the use of potable water by up to 40 percent. This generates an alternative water supply for critical heating and cooling operations, while consistently providing significant cost savings for utility operations. Moving the field of water reclamation forward by recycling 400,000 gallons of water per day, the WaterHub project serves as a model for sustainable water management for bulk water consumers, which is why Emory University is a 2016 Water Prize winner. 

2015 Winners

The City of San Diego

Drought, climate change, and other water reliability issues have intensified the need for new water sources. Driving toward San Diego's one water future, the successful completion of the Water Purification Demonstration Project enabled the launch of Pure Water San Diego, a 20-year water reuse program. The US Water Alliance awarded the 2015 Water Prize to the City of San Diego to shine a spotlight on this project which will supply 83 million gallons of drinking water locally by 2035. This represents a critical step forward in the development of a reliable, sustainable, and diversified local water supply through a focus on innovation, integration, and education.

Coca-Cola Company

"By 2020, safely return to communities and nature the amount of water used in finished beverages and their production." That is Coca-Cola’s commitment to securing a one water future and why the US Water Alliance selected this global company as a 2015 Water Prize Winner. Coca-Cola is on track to exceed their aspirational goal of achieving a “water balance.” Coca-Cola’s achieves its water stewardship goals through diverse, locally-focused community water projects. Those projects often grow out of Coca-Cola's source water vulnerability assessments, which the company conducts for each of its bottling plants. In 2014 alone, Coca-Cola returned 108.5 billion liters of water through 509 community projects in more than 100 countries. Pursuing synergies among source water protection and replenish programs enables Coca-Cola to identify and implement projects that support the sustainability of local watersheds and communities, while mitigating risk.

Electric Power Research Institute

A one water future will require we take into account environmental impacts from diverse sources. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) received a 2015 Water Prize for its commitment to science and collaboration, because EPRI has resolved key hurdles in the deployment of water quality trading. Since 2009, EPRI and power companies, farmers, state and federal agencies, and environmental interests developed an interstate Water Quality Trading (WQT) program in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Focused on environmental impacts from diverse sources, the project has facilitated broad, non-traditional collaborations to achieve a common goal of water quality improvements and environmental improvements. The EPRI project has become a national model and will be an important template for protecting waters in the United States in the coming decades.

2014 Winners

Alliance for Water Efficiency

The sustainable and efficient use of water is the foundation for a one water future. That is why he Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) was awarded a 2014 Water Prize. AWE is a nonprofit organization dedicated solely to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in North America. Before AWE, no national organization was focused on water efficiency, though for decades there has been considerable efforts around energy efficiency. AWE works to integrate water efficiency into resource management, climate resiliency, and energy policy planning. It unites multiple sectors to demonstrate how efficiency benefits diverse objectives: utility economic viability, environmental benefits, job creation at national, state, and local levels.

American Water

Investment in research is essential to our one water future. That is why the US Water Alliance chose to honor American Water with a 2014 US Water Prize. American Water has exemplified that an investment in research is a commitment to sound utility management and a more sustainable water future. American Water's Innovation & Environmental Stewardship team consists of more than 20 scientists, with a budget of more than $3 million, fully dedicated to environmental protection and research in the fields of engineering, chemistry, microbiology, public health, and environmental science. American Water’s research and development is trusted by industry leaders and prominent researchers around the world. Leading water authorities regularly use American Water's research to develop federal drinking water standards and regulations.

Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati

Our one water future will require innovative methods and approaches to eliminate combined sewer overflows.  The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) received the 2014 Water Prize for its Project Groundwork, a plan to reduce and eliminate sewer overflows into local creeks and rivers that also created community benefits. The largest public works projects in the county’s 200-plus year history, Project Groundwork integrates green and gray infrastructure to maximize ratepayer benefits. The plan includes the Lower Mill Creek project, eliminating 1.78 billion gallons of combined sewer overflows annually.  In addition, an urban waterway or Valley Conveyance System will be constructed in the Lick Run Watershed to channel stormwater during heavy flows. Community benefits such as a walking and biking paths, improved civic recreation space, and bridges are included.  

Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District

The development of the world’s largest advanced water purification system for potable reuse is a tremendous step toward our one water future.  That is why Orange County’s Ground Water Replenishment System (GWRS) was a 2014 Water Prize recipient. The GWRS takes treated wastewater that otherwise would be sent to the Pacific Ocean and purifies it for potable reuse, using a three-step advanced process. The result is high-quality water that exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. Operational since January 2008, the GWRS can produce 70 million gallons of high purity water every day, which is enough for nearly 600,000 residents. The GWRS is one of the most celebrated civil engineering and water reuse projects in the world.

2013 Winners

The Freshwater Trust

A one water future will include water quality trading. The Freshwater Trust created an innovative framework for water quality trading that succeeded quickly and on a larger scale than seen in the past. The program works by calculating and quantifying the ecosystem services nature provides. It then turns them into credits that can be traded and purchased by wastewater treatment facilities and power plants to achieve regulatory compliance on impaired streams and rivers. Their approach permits entities to meet their regulatory compliance requirements while creating verified environmental benefits – a “win-win.”

MillerCoors

The US Water Alliance awarded MillerCoors the 2013 Water Prize for conducting a “water blueprint” of their total business operations. MillerCoors' water blueprint presents the kind of holistic approach to water management that should be an industry model. Through the water blueprint, MillerCoors discovered that more than 90 percent of water use occurs in the agriculture supply chain. This caused the company to focus significant energy and resources in this sector, and as a result MillerCoors is leading the way in developing and scaling water-efficient farming practices. To understand risks and identify areas for improvement in their agriculture supply chain, MillerCoors teamed up with The Nature Conservancy in Idaho’s Silver Creek Valley, a region where much of the beer industry’s barley is sourced. Together, they launched a precision irrigation project to use less water in barley farming without reducing yields.

Onondaga County, NY

A one water future will need trail blazers like Onondaga County, who received a 2013 Water Prize for promoting the first federal settlement of its kind to endorse and require green infrastructure as a stormwater management solution. Rather than advance a project estimated to cost $100 million, County Executive Joanie Mahoney joined with EPA and New York State to petition the federal courts to change course and establish a new, more affordable and sustainable combined sewer overflow (CSO) abatement program. As a result, the Save the Rain program was created in 2009. Federal Justice Frederick Scullin approved a CSO abatement program that allowed the County to change course and advance a program that balanced the use of wet weather storage and a requirement for green infrastructure.

2012 Winners

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's (MMSD) holistic approach to water management works on a watershed level and is a one water model. That’s why the US Water Alliance awarded MMSD a 2012 Water Prize for its cutting-edge Watershed-Based Permitting. The program uses an innovative geography-based approach to discharge permitting.  MMSD serves 411 square miles that touches six watersheds. Watershed-Based Permitting extends to the natural boundaries of watersheds rather than being confined to manmade political jurisdictions or industries. Through this pilot program, MMSW is moving towards integrated stormwater permitting programs that focus on overall watershed improvements.  

PepsiCo/Frito-Lay

Stewardship by large water users is key to our one water future. PepsiCo received a 2012 US Water Prize for its comprehensive approach to water stewardship, including: watershed preservation, agricultural interventions, responsible use within its operations, and strategic engagement and advocacy.  PepsiCo's water reclamation project at the Casa Grande Snack Facility is a notable example of the company's efforts.  The compact water recovery and recycling facility dramatically reduced the amount of water discharged from the facility by 75 percent; reducing water use by up to 100 million gallons per year.  

Philadelphia Water Department

The Philadelphia Water Department’s program Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) was awarded a 2012 Water Prize for its vision to unite the city with its water environment, creating a green legacy for future generations, while finding a balance between ecology, economics, and equity.  GCCW is a holistic approach to urban water resources management that integrates solutions to stormwater management into the socioeconomic fabric of Philadelphia, thereby creating amenities for city residents.  The commitment is to “green” more than 34 percent of the combined sewer area’s impervious cover in the coming 25 years.

Project WET Foundation

A one water future will need citizens well educated in water.  That’s why the US Water Alliance awarded the Project WET (“Water Education for Teachers”) Foundation its Water Prize in 2012.  The nonprofit organization provides training workshops on a wide range of water topics, organizes community water events, and builds a worldwide network of educators, water resource professionals, and scientists to work together on confronting water challenges.  Project WET achieves its mission of worldwide water education in part by publishing award‐winning water education materials, including the free, interactive water education website DiscoverWater.org, the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0, the Discover a Watershed series, and the Kids in Discovery series, among others.

Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative

The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative highlights the importance of inter-jurisdictional partnerships to protect and sustain drinking water supplies leading to our one water future. This inter-state collaborative between Maine and New Hampshire received the 2011 US Water Prize for uniting local, state and federal partners to protect forests and reduce stormwater pollution from anticipated development.  It is an action-oriented partnership among local, state and federal partners to address increases in polluted runoff resulting from rapid population growth and conversion of forested land to developed areas in the watershed.  

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

When it comes to our one water future the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is on the cutting edge. Its response to the challenges presented by climate change, aging infrastructure, and regulations is to move toward managing water as one resource. With three enterprises, Water, Power and Sewer, the SFPUC works together to manage and protect its varied water resources as one water and in a manner that is inclusive of environmental and community interests.  SFPUC was awarded the US Water Prize in 2011 for implementing the Urban Watershed Management Program, which takes an integrated urban watershed management approach to developing policies that embrace innovation, integration, public participation, and education.

2011 Winners

The City of Los Angeles

Community collaboration is fundamental to our one water future.  The City of Los Angeles won the 2011 Water Prize for its Water Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) that started with a simple yet ambitious vision: City Departments working with the community to manage water resources holistically. This innovative approach spurred Los Angeles on a seven-year mission to plan for the city's future. The IRP resulted in greater efficiency and multiple citywide benefits, including energy and cost savings, reduced dependence on imported water, reusing stormwater and conserving drinking water.  As implementation continues, stakeholders are engaged and involved—putting Los Angeles on the path to becoming the greenest and cleanest big city in America while ensuring a one water future.

Milwaukee Water Council

In 2011, the US Water Alliance awarded the Milwaukee Water Council the Water Prize for harnessing the power of an existing water industry cluster of more than 130 companies. The Council has advanced one water thinking by linking a rapidly expanding academic research community and convening some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic professionals.  The Council is bringing together all parties to leverage collaboration around advancing water technology. This includes the development of a hub built around education and the establishment of a freshwater school, research and development, and water-related industry.

National Great Rivers Research & Education Center

The National Great Rivers Research & Education Center is the result of a unique partnership formed by Lewis and Clark Community College, the University of Illinois and the Illinois Natural History Survey. They received the 2011 US Water Prize for their 30,000-square-foot field station facility.  Through the Center’s education and outreach efforts, the facility’s numerous sustainable design features (onsite water treatment, wind/hydrokinetic power, solar lighting/heat, green roof, permeable pavement, and more) are promoted on a regional and national level as a model for how resource compatible development and community awareness and empowerment can go hand-in-hand.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) received the US Water Prize in 2011 for it PlaNYC to make sustainability a core consideration for the agency.  DEP also assumed much of the energy planning for New York City, and it continues to regulate local sources of air, noise, and asbestos pollution. The agency is focused on initiatives that complement and advance policies for water quality, energy conservation, air quality, land use, and climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, and economic development and quality of life for all New Yorkers.

Pacific Institute

The Pacific Institute was awarded the US Water Prize in recognition of their role as a thought leader for one water. The Pacific Institute is an innovative and effective independent non-governmental organization in the field of water and sustainability. It has identified efficiency solutions to water shortages; helped define and championed the human right to water; contributed to official water policy changes aimed at sustainability; done groundbreaking research on the impacts of climate change on freshwater resources; and spun off a non-governmental coalition on environmental justice.