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USA: The Utility of the Future Today recognition program returns for a fourth year to honor water resource recovery facilities for community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients. The deadline to apply for recognition this year is May 31.

The Utility of the Future concept is being promoted as the nation’s water systems transform operations through innovation and technology. The Utility of the Future is a model for utilities of all sizes to achieve more efficient operations, enhanced productivity, and long-term sustainability. More than 110 utilities have been recognized since the launch of the program in 2016.

“Innovation is vital for the water sector to meet emerging challenges and continue to promote strong and healthy communities,” said Peter Grevatt, CEO of The Water Research Foundation. “WRF is thrilled to support those utilities that are using innovation to ensure a safe and plentiful water supply.”

The Utility of the Future activity areas focus on the key building blocks of this transformation:

  • Recovery and new uses of a range of resources;
  • Engagement as a leader in the full water cycle and broader social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the community;
  • Engagement in the community and formation of partnerships necessary for success when operating outside of the traditional span of the utility; and
    Transformation of the internal utility culture in support of these innovations.
  • Public and private water sector utilities of all sizes that can demonstrate achievement of the application requirements are encouraged to apply by 5 p.m. EDT, May 31. Applicants must have no major permit violations in the year prior to the submission date of their applications.

Honorees will be notified during the summer and formally recognized during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2019 – WEF’s 92nd annual technical exhibition and conference – this September in Chicago.

Two webinars are scheduled for utilities wishing to learn more about the program and the application process. The webinars are scheduled on April 9 from 1-2 p.m. Eastern, and on May 2 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern.

Since the Utility of the Future concept was introduced in 2013, many utilities have successfully implemented new and creative programs to address local wastewater technical and community challenges. The recognition program was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and the WateReuse Association – with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Water Research Foundation is a 501c3 organization officially formed in January 2018 after the merger of the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and Water Research Foundation. The merged Foundation is the leading water research organization, funding research, pilot projects, and technology demonstrations that maximize the value of all water, including wastewater, stormwater, drinking water, and recycled water.

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