Previous Winners

2022 Winners

Outstanding Public Sector Organization

An innovative evolution of city-scale One Water plans, the City and County of Honolulu takes a standout whole-of-government approach to holistic water management. These plans further raise the bar with their integration into state policy. Learn more here.

Outstanding Private Sector Organization

A public-private partnership for mutual benefit of the utility and the community, these parties collaboratively developed a project to help control costs while overhauling the utility’s energy and metering systems. Learn more here.

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization

For their “Water Wise 7th Ward” project, Healthy Community Services won for focusing on resident-led green infrastructure education in a majority-Black New Orleans Ward plagued by chronic flooding. Learn more here.

Outstanding Cross-Sector Partnership

An impressive cross-sector model for water management, Jordan Lake One Water unified diverse constituents around an integrated One Water approach to management in the region. They are also working directly with policymakers to embed One Water into state and local policy. Learn more here.

Outstanding Public Official

Governor Evers has made water a top priority during his campaigns and in office as Wisconsin’s Governor. His bold and collaborative approach has successfully found consensus with a range of partners to develop One Water solutions for the state. Learn more here.

Outstanding Rising One Water Leader

A rising star in the water sector, Maura is recognized for her work at Philadelphia Water Department in public engagement, building trust, and fostering collaborative possibility thinking around water. Her vision for the public sector is leaders that reflect the communities they serve. Learn more here.

Outstanding Artist

An outstanding poet and spoken word artist, Jourdan’s work with Seattle Public Utilities has elevated water and connected environmental and social messages in a deeply personal way. Learn more here.

Outstanding One Water Communication

A slate of excellent and comprehensive coverage of water issues in the Great Lakes, these journalists are effectively driving the public conversation around water, the environment, and affordability. Learn more here.


2021 Winners

Outstanding Cross Sector Partnership

KC Water’s Green Stewards Program emerged out of KC Water’s Smart Sewer Program, a 25-year plan to reduce and prevent sewer overflows in Kansas City, MO. The Green Stewards Program is a workforce development program that supports the maintenance and monitoring of green infrastructure across the city. The program focuses on the development of skills in green infrastructure and landscape maintenance to develop qualifications for long-term employment in those fields. To run the program, KC Water partners with Bridging the Gap, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting environment, economy, and community. Read more about the Green Stewards Program here.  

Outstanding Artist

Friends of Gadsden Creek mobilized as a grassroots, community-led campaign dedicated to opposing the destruction of Gadsden Creek—the last remaining salt marsh ecosystem on the peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina. The portfolio of Friends of Gadsden Creek envisions the revitalization of Gadsden Creek and surrounding wetlands as an essential part of repairing the social, environmental, and economic injustices that have been inflicted upon the neighboring community. The Friends of Gadsden Creek collective is comprised of passionate scientists, designers, an oysterman, a radio show host, students, educators, and naturalists. The collective’s work as activists, educators, environmental scientists, and historians continues to raise awareness of this resilient, invaluable, and beautiful community and creek. Read more about Friends of Gadsden Creek’s work here.  

Outstanding Private Sector Organization

Microsoft is a leader in their field for adopting their Water Positive Program and committing to being water positive by 2030. Microsoft recognizes our world’s existing water shortage and is taking steps to meet this goal in two ways: by reducing water use intensity across their operations, and by replenishing more water in stressed basins than global water consumption across all basins. Microsoft has made impressive strides toward this goal by using data from the World Resources Institute to focus their replenishment efforts on approximately 40 highly stressed water basins in areas where the company has operations. Additionally, Microsoft’s new Silicon Valley campus features an on-site rainwater collection system and waste treatment plant to recycle and reuse rainwater and wastewater, saving an estimated 4.3 million gallons of potable water each year. Read more about Microsoft's water initiatives here.

Outstanding Artist

Salmon Speakers first came together with the goal of amplifying Indigenous voices on both sides of the US-Canada border and inspiring collective action in communities within the Stikine, Taku, Unuk, Nass, and Skeena River valleys. Their efforts center around Indigenous sovereignty, equity, sustainability, food security, and food sovereignty. The team began their work by facilitating gatherings, story circles, and interviews in southeast Alaska and northwest British Columbia. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team quickly adapted their work—moving from planning a live theatrical performance to a digital production. “When the Salmon Spoke” was produced by Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission and Ping Chong + Company, collaborating with SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and Salmon Beyond Borders. The production features life stories of ten Indigenous citizens tied to the Stikine and weaves together cinematic imagery and Indigenous music and visual art. Read more about Salmon Speakers’ work here

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization

San Juan Bay Estuary Program, also called Estuario, is focused on the restoration of water bodies in the metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. As part of its mission to restore and conserve the quality of the waters of the Estuary ecosystem, Estuario launched the Illicit Discharges Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Project, the only long-term strategy on the island for detecting and correcting illicit charges. Estuario attributes the success of the IDDE Project to the organization’s multisectoral and community-led approach. By empowering residents as citizen scientists, Estuario engages community members whose efforts improve the health of water bodies and related ecosystems. Read more about Estuario’s work here.

Outstanding Public Sector Organization

Tucson Water is ensuring the city of Tucson, AZ is an independent sustainable desert community, now and fifty years in the future. In the past two years, Tucson Water undertook three One Water projects that advance the goal of effectively managing Tucson’s multiple water resources. The first of these projects is the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project, which reintroduced flowing water to the Santa Cruz riverbed after a 100-year absence. The second project is the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Fund that originated with Tucson Water developing a proposal for a green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) fee and program. The third project is the South Houghton Area Recharge Project, which is a 40-acre recharge and recycle project. Read more about Tucson Water’s work here.

Outstanding Rising One Water Leader

Lindsay has extensive experience in digital intelligence for water and wastewater networks and water resource engineering, including nutrient management, stream water quality monitoring and modeling, stormwater management, sustainable design and performance assessments, geospatial information systems, and watershed management. She currently serves as the Watershed Committee Chair and on the LIFT-Innovation Subcommittee Member for the Illinois Water Environment Association. Dr. Birt completed a PhD in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University with an emphasis in environmental and natural resources engineering. She holds an MS and a BS in biological and agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University. Read more about Dr. Birt’s work here.

Outstanding Journalism on the Value of Water

Journalist Ian James, along with colleagues Rob O’Dell, Mark Henle, David Wallace, Nick Oza, and editor Shaun McKinnon at The Arizona Republic, have devoted extensive work to spotlighting pressing water challenges in the state of Arizona. The high-volume portfolio James continues to build upon includes detailed stories on groundwater depletion, the overall lack of water regulation in large portions of Arizona, and promising water management solutions, which have spurred water-related policy proposals in Arizona’s state legislature. His reporting has also examined the widespread problems of inadequate water access in Navajo and Hopi communities, which are compounded by the impacts of climate change and the lasting effects of mining and water sources tainted with hazardous contaminants. Read more about this reporting here.

Outstanding Public Official

Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury is the recipient of the 2021 US Water Prize for Outstanding Public Official for her work as a water champion in her home state of New Mexico. Prior to her election in 2021 to represent the first congressional district of New Mexico, Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury served as a State Representative. As a state representative, Congresswoman Stansbury crafted, sponsored, and led the groundbreaking bipartisan legislation of the Water Data Act, which was signed into law in 2019. The Water Data Act has already streamlined data sharing and improved collaboration between agencies, especially for water managers who now have access to previously siloed data on water resources. Read more about Congresswoman Stansbury’s work here.


2020 Winners

Outstanding Public Sector Organization

Denver Water, the largest water provider in Colorado with 1.5 million customers, has adopted a “lead-by-example” approach to its mission. As a demonstration of what is needed to adapt to an uncertain future, Denver Water embraced an integrated water management strategy for the redevelopment of its 34-acre operations complex. As a part of that project, Denver Water, along with regional partners, pushed for regulatory changes that led to Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment to add indoor flushing as an approved use for recycled water. The Denver Water team’s dedication to being the change they want to see is driving a One Water future across Colorado and beyond. 

Outstanding Cross-Sector Partnership

Flint Community Lab was founded by the community organization Flint Development Center in partnership with Freshwater Future, a nonprofit that helps communities across the Great Lakes region protect their own water.  This lab was developed in response to residents’ distrust of the system created by the Flint Water Crisis through community listening sessions. Their vision is to provide no-cost testing to every home in the community to allow residents to understand the water flowing from their individual tap and if necessary, take steps to improve the quality of that water. The McKenzie Patrice Croom Community Lab will not only provide testing and assistance to residents, but in the process of construction has trained young people in the trades, will provide job training and education to youth in the community and is establishing a sustainable professional lab built and operated by Flint residents.  

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) was founded in 1964 “by farmers to serve farmers.” Rooted in the agricultural community, ISA carries out joint projects with non-agricultural stakeholders to show how certain farming practices that protect Iowa’s waterways also can benefit the bottom line of farmers. From 2016-2019, ISA completed analyses of 81 watersheds throughout Iowa covering 1.8 million acres. These analyses contributed to 23 watershed plans which garnered more the $38 million for implementation projects. ISA is proud that local watersheds across Iowa have realized a value of $42 for every $1 invested in ISA watershed planning.

Outstanding Private Sector Organization

Marriott International is committed to a sustainable future for the hotel industry. As part of Marriott’s sustainability and social impact goals, the company aims to reduce water intensity across its managed properties by 15 percent from 2016 levels by year 2025. To achieve this, Marriott International is implementing an integrated water control system for all cooling towers that are part of a hotel’s air conditioning. Marriott also conserves water in several other aspects of hotel operations, including laundry and linen reuse programs, dishwashing and water service at restaurants and events, and landscaping and irrigation. These investments in sustainable and integrated water management illustrate Marriott’s leadership not just in the hotel industry but in the private sector broadly.

Outstanding Journalism on the Value of Water

In 2019, Mr. Del Real began investigating the issues of access to safe drinking water in California’s agricultural communities. Through a series of four articles, he addresses difficult subjects in water equity, both illuminating the complexities of California’s water access challenge and helping those who have been historically underserved be heard. Mr. Del Real’s coverage helped contextualize and amplify the grassroots fight for California legislation, enacted in July 2019, that provides hundreds of millions of dollars to fund infrastructure that will provide clean drinking water to over one million Californians who do not currently have access. Jose Del Real’s coverage demonstrates how journalism can bolster local voices and humanize water policy innovations, and ultimately advance a One Water for all future.

Outstanding Public OfficialUS Senator Ben Cardin (MD)

Over his long career in Congress, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland has proven time and time again that he is a champion for America’s water. Senator Cardin is a leading proponent of investing in improvements to America's aging water and wastewater infrastructure system and is a tireless advocate for the environment and water as a natural resource. Senator Cardin is also dedicated to his constituents’ water needs and to water equity across the country, sponsoring bipartisan legislation to fund assistance programs for low income water customers. These historic achievements for our nation’s water, and the citizens who rely on it every day, make Senator Ben Cardin a true One Water leader.


2019 Winners



The Camden SMART Initiative

Camden SMART is a community-driven initiative helping the City of Camden tackle its extreme water challenges through innovative, dynamic collaboration on green infrastructure projects. A coalition of six entities – Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, the City of Camden, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, New Jersey Tree Foundation, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – the Camden SMART Initiative is dedicated to upgrading the city’s water systems, remediating the effects of increasing impervious cover on the region’s waterways, and engaging community members in climate resiliency efforts. Benefits to the city include less neighborhood flooding and fewer combined sewer overflows, new sustainable green jobs, improved air and water quality, increased property values, greater economic development opportunities, more recreational amenities and open space, and beautified neighborhoods.

The City of Cedar Rapids

Led by the City of Cedar Rapids and launched in 2015, the Middle Cedar Partnership Project (MCPP) is a five-year collaboration between downstream water users, upstream conservation entities, and local farmers. The Project focuses on three objectives: developing watershed plans, implementing Best Management Practices, and conducting outreach. By guiding implementation of watershed improvement plans, developing contracts with farmers and landowners that promote soil and water conservation, and educating stakeholders on the need for holistic water management, MCPP is promoting improved water quality, water quantity, and soil health throughout the Middle Cedar Watershed.

EJ Water Cooperative

As a nonprofit with a cooperative model and 30 years’ experience serving rural populations, EJ Water’s goal is to help address the access challenges facing rural communities. Understanding that residents in their service area struggle with internet bandwidth as well as access to safe, reliable water, EJ Water developed the Illinois Fiber Connect Project – becoming the first water utility in the country to lay fiber and water lines in the same trench. This Project reduces two-thirds of the cost for telecom installation and allows smart meters to provide live data. This innovative strategy serves to benefit communities by increasing leak detection and saving members money, as well as by improving internet speed.

Eric Garcetti

As the 42nd and current Mayor of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has worked tirelessly to secure the reliability and sustainability of the city’s water future. As a One Water champion, Mayor Garcetti announced that Los Angeles will recycle 100 percent of its available wastewater for beneficial reuse by 2035, released the City’s first-ever Sustainable City Plan (pLAn), and signed Executive Directive 5 designed to make Los Angeles a more “Water-Wise City.” Under Mayor Garcetti’s leadership, Los Angeles has already achieved several water sustainability goals, including replacing 95 miles of water pipe infrastructure and reducing per capita water use by 20 percent.

Great Lakes Team, APM Reports

The "So Close, Yet So Costly" project – developed by The Water Main in partnership with APM Reports, Great Lakes Today, and NPR – explores rising drinking water prices in the Great Lakes Region. Over the course of a nine-month investigation, the team examined the cost of water in the six largest cities near the Great Lakes over the past 10 years and found that rates have risen alarmingly fast and that costs are considerably higher than water scarce cities. The story, told online and on air, highlighted the hidden realities and human costs of America's water infrastructure crisis and is sparking new conversations spotlighting those on the frontlines of tackling water affordability issues.

Greenprint Partners

As a green infrastructure delivery partner, one of Greenprint Partners’ key goals is to pioneer green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) solutions that maximize benefits to the local community, and engage residents in design, construction, and maintenance. Greenprint Partners’ idea to pursue an urban farm resulted in the development of the Well Farm, one of the first “stormwater farms” in the country. Located in the south side of Peoria, Illinois, one of the 100 poorest zip codes in the nation, Well Farm reduces stormwater pollution, supports an Urban Agriculture Apprenticeship Program, and produces locally-grown timber, flowers, and food.


2018 Winners



Hampton Roads Sanitation District

Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) is using innovative techniques in the face of sea level rise to take and clean wastewater and use it to recharge groundwater aquifers and prevent saltwater intrusion. HRSD’s Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow program, or SWIFT, embodies One Water management by delivering multiple benefits to the region today and for generations to come. At full implementation, SWIFT will be one of the world’s largest groundwater recharge programs, delivering over 100 million gallons a day to the Potomac aquifer. In addition to mitigating sea level rise, SWIFT safeguards drinking water supply, promotes Chesapeake Bay restoration, will reduce the frequency and magnitude of local flooding, and ensure the region’s economy has the water resource management and control it needs to thrive in the future.

Intel Corporation

As one of the world’s largest technology and semiconductor manufacturing companies, Intel Corporation is modeling sustainable water management in a water-intensive industry. Intel Corporation is the first technology company to commit to restore 100 percent of its water use by 2025. Currently returning approximately 80 percent of its water use back to communities, Intel Corporation is achieving its goals through innovative partnerships and water restoration projects. An example of this work is Intel’s partnership with the City of Chandler to use treated wastewater from an Arizona Intel site to replenish a local aquifer. These technological innovations and local partnerships serve to conserve and restore Intel’s water use.


DigDeep is a human rights nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all Americans have clean and accessible running water. With more than 40 percent of households lacking running water, the Navajo Nation is one of the most water-poor areas in the country. Navajo are 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without running water. To address this inequity, DigDeep developed the Navajo Water Project and installed 105 home water systems in Navajo Communities in New Mexico. The Navajo Water Project provides seven rural communities with the tools and infrastructure necessary to gain water access for the first time. Through the Project, DigDeep is empowering community members, fostering partnerships, and promoting an equitable water future. 

Yahara WINS

The Yahara Watershed Improvement Network, known as Yahara WINS, is supporting farms, beautiful natural resources, and rural and urban communities in Southern Wisconsin. The first winner of a US Water Prize in the Cross-Sector Partnership category, Yahara WINS brings together nontraditional partners and uses adaptive management to look at their watershed holistically and design interventions that address all sources of phosphorous—from homes and farms to wastewater treatment plants and MS4s—and prevent nutrients from harming the rivers, lakes, and streams in the region. Today, Yahara WINS is a coalition of 24 MS4s, three county conservation departments, three wastewater treatment plants, more than 300 participating farmers, and several agencies and environmental organizations across the watershed.

Dan Egan

For the past 15 years, journalist Dan Egan has been reporting on the precarious state of the Great Lakes—reaching local, regional, and national audiences. The Great Lakes are critical to public health, quality of life, and economic vitality for over 30 million people, approximately 10 percent of the population. Mr. Egan has covered invasive species, the impact of farm runoff in Lake Erie, the drinking water shutdown in Toledo, the region’s crumbling pipelines, the decline of the fishing economy, and the successful Congressional approval of the Great Lakes Compact. Through his coverage, he has distinguished himself as the preeminent voice for the Lakes and galvanized the watershed around protecting the world’s largest single source of fresh water. 

Greg Fischer

As the 50th Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fisher has contributed to substantial growth and advancement in the water sector both locally and nationally. He has championed multiple water-related initiatives, including the One Water Initiative, 100 Resilient Cities, Water System Regionalization, and the Louisville MSD Critical Repair and Re-investment Plan. Through these innovative initiatives, Mayor Fischer has improved customer service, identified revenue opportunities, and realized cost savings for the Louisville community. Mayor Fischer’s work illustrates his understanding that investment in our aging water, wastewater, and flood protection systems are part of the formula that will lead to a resilient Louisville.


2017 Winners



Aurora Water

Aurora, Colorado is facing the water supply problems of many cities and regions in the arid west—a changing climate alongside a growing population. To combat these issues and secure the area's water stability, Aurora Water worked with regional partners to create the Prairie Waters system, a innovative system that recapturing and recycling water to provide drinking water and drought insurance for the region.  Using a multi barrier treatment process that includes both naturally-existing systems and state-of-the-art purification systems, Prairie Waters provides an additional twelve million gallons of clean, safe and dependable water each day. The Prairie Water program will help meet Aurora's complex water needs for decades to come and can be a model for other regions experiencing changes in their water supply needs.  

Change the Course

Change the Course brings together the public, corporations, and nonprofit organizations to reduce water waste and replenish depleted water sources. Individuals and businesses are challenged to pledge to reduce their water footprint. For every pledge received, Change the Course commits to replenishing one thousand gallons of water to depleted watersheds. To date, Change the Course, along with its corporate partners, has replenished over eight billion gallons of water through thirty-five restoration projects in 11 states and in Mexico. Because of Change the Course's commitment to water conservation and replenishment, a quarter of a million people have already been inspired to commit to reducing their water waste while corporate partners have worked to meet ambitious sustainability goals.


A keystone of the Kohler corporate philosophy is that better business and a better environment go hand in hand. Kohler has put that philosophy into action by committing to reducing waste and increasing sustainability through its products and its processes through programs like Net Zero 2035. Net Zero 2035 states that Kohler is working towards a goal of sending no solid waste to landfills, reducing or offsetting 100% of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reducing their water usage. Kohler is working to fulfill this commitment by creating products that surpass industry standards for reducing both water waste and the energy required to treat water. Kohler is a corporate leader in demonstrating that water products can be beautiful, functional, and efficient.

Mark Schleifstein

Over a 33-year career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Mark Schleifstein has doggedly covered water and the environment in a city has many stories to tell on the topic. From the blockbusters—Hurrican Katrina and Deepwater Horizon—to the quieter but still vital stories like coastal erosion and the Gulf "Dead Zone," Schleifstein has reported on the water stories that critical the lives of people in the New Orleans community. Recognizing the importance of his work, the New York Times has partnered with the Times-Picayune to bring Schleifstein's reporting on climate to a larger audience. As in-depth reporting on water and the environment becomes even more critical, Mark Schleifstein's work is an example of excellence.

Adam Putnam

Water has been at the center of Adam Putnam's work his entire career. Through his work as a rancher, State Representative, Congressman, and now Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner Putnam has seen firsthand that Florida's economic future—from agriculture to tourism—depends on clean and reliable water. Commissioner Putnam has used his office to advance policies necessary to secure Florida's water. His accomplishments include securing funding for Everglades preservation and helping establish Florida’s first comprehensive water plan in decades. Our nation's water future depends on the support of public sector advocates like Commissioner Putnam.


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.

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.”


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.  


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, 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.