The application period for the 2017 Utility of the Future Today Recognition Programme has been extended to 5 p.m. EDT, on the 20th of June. Now in its second year, the programme’s goal is to celebrate, promote and recognise utilities that are building on a foundation of excellent innovative, performance, and sustainable management and help small, medium, and large utilities transform their operations over time.
“The innovations coming to the water sector present an opportunity for a shift in the way utilities think about and solve long-standing challenges,” Executive Director of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), Eileen O’Neill, said. “WEF and the other partners are excited to recognise and salute those utilities that are embracing innovative ways to better serve their communities.”
The Utility of the Future activity areas concentrate on these key building blocks:
- Recovery and new use of a full range of resources
- Engagement as a leader in the full water cycle and broader social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the community
- Transformation of the internal utility culture in support of these innovations
- Engagement in the community and formation of partnerships necessary for success when operating outside of the traditional span of control of the utility
Water resource recovery facilities in both the public and private sectors of all sizes are encouraged to apply. However, applicants must have no major permit violations in the past year prior to the submission date of their applications. Honourees will be notified by the 28th of July and formally recognised and acknowledged during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2017 this coming October in Chicago, Illinois, United States (U.S.) where WEF’s 90th annual technical exhibition and conference will be held.
“EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is proud to support and provide advice for the Utility of the Future Today Recognition Programme and we commend our association colleagues for their leadership,” James Horne, Sustainability Programme Manager, Office of Wastewater Management at the EPA, said. “The programme recognises a range of utilities that have truly embraced the future as 21st century service providers and it also aligns with EPA’s priorities to promote sustainability across the water sector.”
Since the introduction if the Utility of the Future concept in 2013, many utilities have successfully carried out new and creative programmes to tackle issues with local wastewater technical as well as community challenges.
The recognition programme was initiated in 2016 by four water sector organisations: The Water Environment Federation (WEF), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment & Research Foundation (WE&RF) and WateReuse – along with support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The programme’s first 61 honourees were featured during WEFTEC 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.