2020 US Water Prize 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
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
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
Jose A. Del Real, New York Times
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)
US 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.