Southwest Water Co. wins public-private partnership awards

Oct. 3, 2002
Southwest Water Co. announced that two of its Services Group companies were recently honored by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) for innovative municipal partnerships.

WEST COVINA, Calif., Oct. 3, 2002 -- Southwest Water Co. announced that two of its Services Group companies were recently honored by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) for innovative municipal partnerships. NCPPP officials presented the awards at the Council's annual awards banquet on September 26 in Houston.

Anton C. Garnier, Southwest Water president and chief executive officer, said, "We are gratified by this recognition from the NCPPP. The concept of public-private partnerships generates more than 60 percent of our annual revenue and is the driving force behind Southwest Water's growth. With more than 300 different partnerships with cities and municipal utility districts, we strive to provide all our clients with the same high level of service that helped us earn these awards."

In Gulfport, Mississippi, Southwest Water subsidiary Operations Technologies, Inc. (OpTech) has provided a comprehensive range of public works services since 1999, including water and sewer, streets and drainage, customer service and billing, and a variety of special projects.

OpTech instituted a performance-based compensation system to increase worker productivity, launched technical training programs to reduce the use of subcontractors for maintenance and repairs, and implemented a systematic program for upgrading old and deteriorating water and wastewater infrastructure. Through this public-private partnership, Gulfport has enjoyed annual cost savings of approximately $500,000.

ECO Resources, Inc., another member of the Southwest Water Services Group, has served the Sugar Land, Texas, area (approximately 15 miles southwest of Houston) for more than 20 years. The City's public works department handles utility operation in the older portion of Sugar Land, while ECO Resources employees provide service in the newer area. Thus, Sugar Land is able to support its dramatic population growth without the expense of greatly expanding its own staff.

Under its performance-based contract, ECO Resources provides water supply, wastewater treatment and related customer services. Among the company's achievements in Sugar Land are the introduction of wireless electronic meter reading and the development of customized software that provides city officials with real-time access to customer service records. ECO Resources is in the second year of a 5-year, $10 million extension of its contract with Sugar Land.

The awards won by Southwest Water Company's Services Group mark the second consecutive year of recognition by the NCPPP. In 2001, the Council honored ECO Resources for its innovative reverse osmosis water treatment plant contract with the El Paso County Water Authority.

The NCPPP, headquartered in Washington, DC, is a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1985 as a forum for the brightest ideas and innovators in the partnership arena. Its growing list of public and private sector members, with experience in a wide variety of public-private partnership arrangements, and its diverse training and public education programs, represent vital core resources for partnering nationwide.

Southwest Water Company provides a broad range of services, including water production, treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, public works services and utility submetering. The company owns regulated public utilities and also serves cities, utility districts and private companies under contract. More than two million people in 31 states from coast to coast depend on Southwest Water for high-quality, reliable service.

Source: Southwest Water Company

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