NAWC award winners announced at 2016 Water Summit

Oct. 5, 2016
California Water Service’s Chris Whitley wins 2016 NAWC Living Water Award; Golden State Water Company wins NAWC Management Innovation Award.

SAN DIEGO, CA, OCTOBER 4, 2016 -- The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) announced Chris Whitley of California Water Service (Cal Water) has been selected as the winner of the 2016 NAWC Living Water Award; and that Golden State Water Company is the winner of the 2016 NAWC Management Innovation Awards for its water conservation communications program, the ”Collaborative Conservation Education Campaign.”

The announcements were made today as part of the 2016 NAWC Water Summit being held October 2-4, in San Diego, Calif.

The NAWC Living Water Awards program was established in 2012 to celebrate the exemplary private water industry professionals who are "living water" through their commitment to quality service and the environment. Whitley is the fourth recipient of this prestigious honor, earned for extraordinary leadership displayed in the midst of a devastating wildfire that impacted the communities he serves.

Whitley is Local Manager of Cal Water’s Kern River Valley and Antelope Valley Districts. In June 2016, a wildfire spread throughout Kern County, California, ultimately burning nearly 50,000 acres and destroying 309 homes. As the community where he lives and works literally went up in flames, Whitley’s remarkable actions, and calm, collected demeanor throughout the disaster ensured the health and safety of thousands of residents. For example, as water lines to homes ruptured as a result of the fire, Whitley drove into the heart of the fire territory and manually shut off the meters from the burned homes so that water could be preserved to fight the fire.

"Chris' performance in the face of an unfolding natural disaster is both remarkable and inspiring," said Michael Deane, NAWC executive director. "He put the health and safety of his community before himself, and did so humbly and compassionately. Without question, what he has done is deserving of the Living Water Award, and I congratulate both Chris and Cal Water for the tremendous work they do in the communities they serve."

The NAWC Management Innovation Awards recognizes members of the National Association of Water Companies for their groundbreaking, industry-changing ideas. This year’s awards attracted a variety of entries from across the nation.

"Each of the Management Innovation Award entries from NAWC members this year were impactful, creative and showed excellent thought leadership," said Michael Deane, NAWC executive director. "Entries included everything from conservation efforts and management plans to technological advancements and community support initiatives."

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.

"Golden State Water Company is honored to receive this prestigious award that celebrates innovation," said Robert Sprowls, president and CEO of Golden State Water Company. "Golden State Water Company takes great pride in how we engage with customers, and pioneering a new approach like the Collaborative Conservation Education Campaign to create an open dialogue on conservation aligns with our goal of always pursuing creative and progressive ways to share important information and maintain that valuable connection we have with the communities we serve."

About the NAWC
The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) is the voice of the private water industry and the organization exclusively representing this group of quality water service providers, innovation drivers, creative financiers and responsible partners. To learn more about NAWC, visit or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.