The application period is open for the Utility of the Future Today recognition programme, which seeks to honour water resource recovery facilities for community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients.
The Utility of the Future Today concept is being promoted as water systems transform operations through innovation and technology. The Utility of the Future is a model for utilities of all sizes to achieve more efficient operations, enhanced productivity, and long-term sustainability. Since the programme launched in 2016, 118 utilities have been recognised with the honour.
“Every day utilities find new ways to embrace technology and innovation while improving the way they serve their communities,” said Jackie Jarrell, WEF President. “These kinds of forward-thinking approaches have ripple effects throughout the water sector, and we are proud to recognise and celebrate these efforts.”
The Utility of the Future activity areas focus on the key building blocks of this transformation:
• recovery and new uses of a range of resources;
• engagement as a leader in the full water cycle and broader social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the community;
• engagement in the community and formation of partnerships necessary for success when operating outside of the traditional span of the utility; and
• transformation of the internal utility culture in support of these innovations.
Public and private water sector utilities of all sizes that can demonstrate achievement of the application requirements are encouraged to apply by July 17 at 5 p.m. EDT. Applicants must have no major permit violations in the year prior to the submission date of their applications.
Honorees will be notified during the summer and formally recognised during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2020—WEF’s 93rd annual technical exhibition and conference—this October in New Orleans.
Since the Utility of the Future concept was introduced in 2013, many utilities have successfully implemented new and creative programmes to address local wastewater technical and community challenges. The recognition programme was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and the WateReuse Association —with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).