In the midst of California's worst drought in more than a century, Ben Grumbles, president of the U.S. Water Alliance, announced awardees of the 2014 U.S. Water Prize while speaking to the California Irrigation Institute conference attendees in Sacramento.
The four winners are: Alliance for Water Efficiency, Chicago; American Water, Voorhees, N.J.; Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati; and Orange County Water District and Sanitation District, California. "America's future looks bright blue with these shining water stars," said Grumbles. "Our 2014 winners are leading the way by reducing water waste, reusing water resources, and rethinking watershed strategies and technologies."
The U.S. Water Prize was initiated four years ago by the U.S. Water Alliance to elevate those organizations with strategies that promote the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for one water sustainability. "These winners offer approaches that will build resiliency in the face of challenges like the California drought and other climate change impacts," said Grumbles.
The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a leading force for education and advocacy, instilling an ethic of "every drop counts" and proving that a "save more, waste less" strategy applies not just to water but to energy and money as well.
Since 1981, American Water's Innovation and Environmental Stewardship Team has been conducting cutting edge research, development and collaboration to lift the water and wastewater sector to new heights, underscoring the value of water and the benefit of technology. More than 20 scientists have been devoting themselves to the effort.
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati is leading the charge for cleaner, greener, and smarter strategies to reduce water pollution, beautify neighborhoods, and drive economic development. Their green infrastructure strategy is winning support from regulators, environmentalists, and businesses.
Orange County Water District and Sanitation District's Ground Water Replenishment System is recognized as a global leader in reclamation and reuse. Their award-winning efforts to reclaim 70 million gallons per day is expanding to 100 million gallons per day, all to reduce regional water insecurity and recharge precious supplies.
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Winners will be honored in an awards ceremony on April 7, 2014, at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. The recognition program will be attended by more than 300 water leaders from throughout the United States. "Water Prize winners reflect America's broad diversity and ingenuity, from the Heartland to the Coast, with urban and rural problem solvers working to keep water clean, safe, and secure," said Dick Champion, Chairman of the Board.
Nominations were reviewed by an independent, volunteer panel of judges respected as leaders in the fields of water and environmental policy: Monica Ellis, CEO of Global Environment & Technology Foundation and Global Water Challenge; Stephanie Johnson, Senior Program Officer, National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board; Rich Anderson, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council; Stephen Schoenholtz, Professor, Virginia Tech, and Director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center; Robert Sussman, former Senior Advisor to the Administrator of U.S. EPA.