US Water Prize for Outstanding Rising One Water Leader: Dr. Lindsay Birt
Lindsay Birt, PhD and client solutions manager at Xylem, exemplifies what it means to be a leader in One Water. Through her technical expertise in agricultural and biological engineering, Dr. Birt fosters innovations in agricultural water, surface water, wastewater, and stormwater management. With a “watershed state of mind,” Lindsay emphasizes engagement and partnerships with stakeholders across the water sector to achieve comprehensive solutions to pressing water issues. Additionally, Lindsay is a staunch advocate for the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices and initiatives throughout the water world.
Lindsay was a member of the US Water Alliance’s 2020 Mentoring Connections program cohort, where she worked alongside Changemaker Ted Henifin, general manager at Hampton Roads Sanitation District, to advance the development of her own One Water leadership capacities as a water professional, and to progress the One Water approach in Xylem’s work.
At Xylem, Dr. Birt collaborates with a variety of clients, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and techniques to evaluate water and wastewater system performance, develop optimized control strategies and infrastructure alternatives to maximize system conveyance and capture, and deliver information to operations through real-time decision support systems. Lindsay leads teams to tackle some of the biggest challenges the water sector faces, including nutrient reduction, flood reduction, and combined sewer overflows.
With a knowledge of capital expenditures and operating expenses, Dr. Birt helps implement and share measures that ensure utilities and their ratepayers alike can minimize cost burdens, which she highlights in her article for WaterWorld entitled “Maximizing Storage and Savings.”
Lindsay is also a champion of DEI efforts in the water sector. At Xylem, she has played a major role in building the company’s DEI initiatives and drawing attention to structural inequities that BIPOC face, particularly in corporate spaces. At WEFTEC 2020, Dr. Birt led and coordinated a workshop presentation on the paper she co-authored, entitled “Diversity and Inclusion Professional Societies Case Study.” In 2021, Lindsay organized an abstract on diversity and inclusion for WEFTEC in collaboration with Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) InFLOW (Introducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water) student scholars, industry, academia, and municipal sectors. She also serves on the Diversity and Inclusiveness committee with the Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA).
In addition to these roles, Lindsay currently serves as the Watershed Management Committee Chair and is a LIFT-Innovation Subcommittee Member for Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA), and she serves on the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. With her extensive understanding of water from engineering, management, and design perspectives, her whole watershed mindset and approach to collaborative work, and her commitment to achieving equity in the water sector, Dr. Lindsay Birt thoroughly possesses the qualities of an outstanding One Water leader.
The US Water Alliance is pleased to award Dr. Lindsay Birt with the US Water Prize for Outstanding Rising One Water Leader in recognition for her work advancing sustainable, integrated, and inclusive solutions to water challenges.