Applications Open for the Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program

The Utility of the Future Today recognition program returns for a third year to honor water resource recovery facilities that engage communities, preserve watersheds, and produce valuable resources. Apply for recognition by 5 p.m. (EDT), May 30.

The Utility of the Future promotes transforming operations of the nation’s water systems through innovation and technology. The concept provides a model for utilities of all sizes to achieve more efficient processes, enhanced productivity, and long-term sustainability.

“It is inspiring to see the many ways utilities are using innovation to approach and respond to the challenges they face,” said Eileen O’Neill, executive director of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.). “WEF and the other partners are proud to continue supporting and celebrating those utilities that are improving the way they serve their communities.”

Activity areas to transform into a Utility of the Future include

  • recovering and finding new uses for various resources;
  • leading efforts to improve water stewardship as well as the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of a community;
  • engaging with the community and forming partnerships when operating outside the traditional span of the utility; and
  • transforming the internal utility culture to support innovation.

Public and private water sector utilities of any size that have had no major permit violations in the year prior to the submission date and can demonstrate achievement of the application requirements are encouraged to apply. Honorees will be formally recognized during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2018 in New Orleans.

Since the Utility of the Future concept was introduced in 2013, many utilities have implemented new and creative programs to address technical and social challenges inside and outside their facilities. The recognition program was launched in 2016 by WEF, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.), the Water Research Foundation (Denver), and the WateReuse Association (Alexandria, Va.) with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 80 utilities have been recognized.

To learn more about the program and application process, participate in the “Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program Introductory Webinar,” 1–2  p.m., on April 25. For more information, send an email to UtilityRecognition@wef.org.

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