WEF President Paul Bowen blogs about a new program to celebrate wastewater utility excellence and innovation
On the eve of Earth Day last month, WEF and partners NACWA, WERF, and WateReUse, with support from U.S. EPA, launched The Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program. This exciting new program recognizes wastewater utilities on their journey to become full water resource recovery facilities with enhanced productivity, sustainability, and resiliency. The Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program celebrates the progress and exceptional performance of our nation’s wastewater utilities as they build on innovation success and address local wastewater challenges. The time has come for this recognition.
As president of the Water Environment Federation, I’ll admit to a certain bias when it comes to the nation’s wastewater utilities or water resource recovery facilities as they are known at WEF. They operate 24/7, 365 days a year, to protect public health and the water environment, and are so deserving of recognition for the essential role they play in cleaning water that has been flushed, drained, or entered into our systems through storm drains, and then returning it safely into our environment. Even beyond their critical daily operations, water resource recovery facilities are working toward a future that makes the most of our precious and limited water resources.
Whether it’s reuse of water or biosolids, recovery of energy and nutrients, energy efficiency and generation, and more, many facilities are adopting Utility of the Future (UTF) principles that support smart, sustainable, value-added service to communities nationwide. This is the future of water, and these utilities are creating it every day. The Utility of the Future Today program is an opportunity to recognize their achievements plus facilitate collaboration and continued evolution as a sector.
I’d encourage utilities of all sizes to apply for this very special recognition by June 17. And I’d like to applaud wastewater utilities everywhere for a job well done.