2013 US Water Prize 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.