Columbus Water Works Recognized as Utility of the Future
Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
Columbus Water Works has received this esteemed national recognition by the Water Environment Federation as a Utility of the Future Today 2018 for Watershed Stewardship. The Utility of the Future program seeks to promote and recognize utilities that are building on a foundation of excellent management and help small, medium, and large utilities transform their operations over time.
Columbus Water Works is dedicated to meeting the ever-increasing challenges of sustainability, innovative technology and green energy while protecting the environment and preserving our most precious resource – water. CWW has always had a philosophy of being at the forefront of rules and regulations that affect our operations. This philosophy extends to our Watershed Stewardship and Source Water Assessment Plan. The SWAP developed through a partnership between the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, CWW, Georgia Power, Mead Coated Board, Inc., (now WestRock) and other stakeholders and water purveyors, was developed in conjunction with an inter-state watershed study.
Columbus was one of the first drinking water communities in Georgia to initiate the requirements of the SWAP. In 2001, CWW and regional partners completed a Middle Chattahoochee River Watershed Study which included a Regional Source Water Assessment and Protection Program of surface water intakes for CWW, the City of West Point, the Chattahoochee Valley Water Supply District, and Harris County Water Department in Georgia and Opelika Water Works, Phenix City Utilities and Smiths Water and Sewer Authority in Alabama. CWW continues to facilitate regional source water protection practices of communicating, monitoring and delineating strategies for intake protection. CWW completed the regional Watershed Stewardship and Source Water Assessment Plan for surface water systems as of May, 2018.
Columbus Water Works is one of 32 water utilities from across the U.S. recognized as forward-thinking, innovative utilities that are providing resilient and value-added service to communities.
The Utility of the Future Today program was launched in 2016 by four water sector organizations—the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and WateReuse, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Utility of the Future Today concept is being promoted as the nation’s water system faces challenges such as aging infrastructure, water pollution, workforce shortages, and impacts of climate change, including drought, floods, storms, and sea level rise. The 25 utilities recognized in 2018 are transforming operations to meet challenges by recovering resources, engaging in the community, forming untraditional partnerships, and building an internal culture of innovation.
“The innovations coming to the water sector present an opportunity for a paradigm shift in the way utilities think about and solve long-standing challenges to clean and reliable water,” said Eileen O’Neill, Executive Director of the Water Environment Federation. “WEF is excited to recognize Columbus Water Works for embracing innovative ways to better serve their communities.”
Columbus Water Works will be recognized during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2018 – WEF’s 91st annual technical exhibition and conference – this October in New Orleans.