National Association of Water Companies Names California Water Service, EPCOR USA and New York American Water Winners of the NAWC Management Innovation Awards

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The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) has named both EPCOR USA and California Water Service as first place winners of the 2017 NAWC Management Innovation Awards.

EPCOR USA won for its “Sustainability at Play: EPCOR Turns Land into Public Park” and California Water Service for its “Utilizing GPS Technology and GIS to Further Water Efficiency.” Additionally, New York American Water was named the winner in the new sustainability category for its Geothermal Innovation Project. The announcements were Monday, October 16, as part of the 2017 NAWC Water Summit in Seattle, Washington.

For over 40 years, the NAWC Management Innovation Awards has recognized members for their unique, industry-defining ideas. This year’s awards attracted a variety of entries from across the nation.

“Each of the Management Innovation Award entries received this year were compelling and demonstrated truly innovative ideas,” said Michael Deane, NAWC’s Executive Director. “Entries included everything from coating specifications and construction communication programs to a public-private partnership for recycled water. Our industry benefits when we all work together to improve water and wastewater service and the communities where we operate. It’s encouraging to see NAWC members sharing their advancements with industry colleagues.”

Entries were judged on degree of innovation, short- and long-term benefits to the company, value to water utility industry, the idea’s ability to be replicated at other companies, and presentation quality.

Award Winner: California Water Service
Utilizing GPS Technology and GIS to Further Water Efficiency
California Water Service is committed to responsibly reducing water use to meet mandatory state reduction requirements among some of its heaviest-consuming customers–golf courses. This was accomplished by applying GPS and GIS technologies to conserve water.

This innovation maps playable turf on a golf course to assist golf course management in prioritizing the removal of turf. The project provides pocket-sized GPS-devices to golfers while they play the course. Some background information is collected from each golfer before they begin their game and after their game is complete. The data from each golfers’ GPS unit is downloaded and converted to workable files to be analyzed. The golfers’ location data shows where the golfers play on the course and the areas the golfers do not play, which is where turf can be replaced without impacting the golf game.

As a result of the first study, 96,928 square feet of turf was removed on the golf course, equating to 2,326,272 gallons of water saved per year.

Award Winner: EPCOR USA
Sustainability at Play: EPCOR Turns Land into Public Park

The residents of Anthem, a community of more than 30,000 residents, north of Phoenix, Arizona, may know the water to wash their dishes or launder their clothes, comes from EPCOR. But they might not realize Opportunity Way Park, one of the community’s public parks, is probably one of the most innovative in the nation. While it looks like any other park from the ground, something very special is happening underneath the sports fields and playground.

The center of Opportunity Way Park sits on land atop EPCOR’s recharge facility where recycled water is put deep into the ground for future use, renewing and repurposing the collected water. Nearly 100 percent of the water that goes down the drain in this community is recycled – either by recharging it back into the ground or reusing it to irrigate public spaces like ball fields or golf courses. When water is recharged into the ground, it’s available when needed in the future. Opportunity Way Park is a great combination of public space, private land and water management.

Sustainability Category Award Winner: New York American Water
New York American Water Geothermal System

New York American Water (NYAW) piloted a geothermal innovation to heat and cool larger buildings by taking a creative approach to traditional geothermal technology and developing new renewable energy that lowers energy costs and reduces a building’s carbon footprint. The heat exchanger essentially works like radiator with two compartments and two separate, closed loops. These two loops pass through the stainless steel, food-grade heat exchanger in sequence to heat or cool the building.

Today, temperatures in each classroom can be individually controlled and with the NYAW geothermal system in operation, administrators, teachers and students have a much more comfortable learning environment because of this technology.

This research and development pilot could transform traditional geothermal systems while introducing a new application in renewable energy for communities seeking to create cost-effective approaches to sustainability. American Water is exploring other facilities that can leverage this innovative approach to lowering energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.

About the NAWC Water Summit
The NAWC Water Summit is the annual gathering of private water professionals hosted by the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC). The event provides a dynamic forum for regulators, public officials, leaders in the water industry and other key stakeholders to exchange ideas, learn from one another and share solutions that sustain businesses and communities.

About NAWC

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) represents regulated water and wastewater companies, as well as ones engaging in partnerships with municipal utilities. NAWC members provide 73 million Americans with safe and reliable water service every day and have an exceptional record of compliance with federal and state health and environmental regulations. Ensuring this high standard of quality requires extraordinary amounts of capital investment. NAWC estimates that its 10 largest members alone collectively invested nearly $3.7 billion in 2019 in their water and wastewater systems. Visit NAWC.org or follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.