Water association recognizes strategic thinking among water utility managers

Today, at the 2001 AMWA Annual Meeting, 24 public water utilities were honored for their significant accomplishments with Gold Awards for Competitiveness Achievement.

San Francisco, Calif., October 29, 2001 — Through strategic thinking and competitive achievements, metropolitan water utility managers across the country are positioning their systems to meet the future needs and high expectations of drinking water consumers and municipal government leaders.

Today, at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), 24 public water utilities were honored for their significant accomplishments with Gold Awards for Competitiveness Achievement.

"AMWA's 24 Gold Award-winning water agencies are setting the pace for utility management practices to ensure success in an increasingly competitive environment," said AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei. "To meet competitive challenges, these municipal water leaders are employing exceptional management practices, creating new financial courses, seeking new growth opportunities and meeting customer needs on every front."

AMWA's 2001 Gold Awards for Competitiveness Achievement were awarded to: City of Akron Public Utilities Bureau, City of Albuquerque Water Utility, Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility, Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Utility Operations City of Austin, Water and Wastewater Utility City of Atlanta, Department of Water City of Chicago, Department of Water Greater Cincinnati, Water Works Des Moines, Water Works East Bay Municipal Utility District, El Paso Water Utilities, Green Bay Water Utility, Knoxville Utilities Board, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Orange County Water Division, City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department, City of St. Louis Water Division, Saint Paul Regional Water Services, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities, Tacoma Water, Tampa Water Department, Tualatin Valley Water District, Tucson Water and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

"Consumers and public officials have reason to salute the achievements of the award-winning agencies that serve their communities," VanDe Hei said. "AMWA's Gold Award winners are in the top ranks of the nation's best-operated water systems. They stand as innovative and successful representatives of public owned drinking water suppliers and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments."

"Publicly owned water systems face unique challenges that are not faced by private water companies, including civil service and procurement laws, as well as other social obligations," VanDe Hei said.

"At the same time, consumers call for better and less costly service, and local government leaders wisely demand the use of best business practices in water system operations. Even in the face of these challenges, well-run public owned water systems compete with the best private companies," she added.

AMWA's Gold Award entries were judged by experienced and respected water system executives. The judges looked at each utility's benchmarking and competitiveness strategy and assessed competitiveness improvement initiatives in the areas of plant, maintenance, engineering, finance, administration and employee development.

Winners met goals for overall efficiency, cost of operation and quality of service. Many successfully used labor-management task forces to reengineer work process, had strong ongoing programs for evaluating customer satisfaction and employed proactive measures to ensure or improve their bond ratings.

They also had forward-looking plans for systematically replacing and rehabilitating their production and delivery system infrastructure to help ensure adequate future water supplies.

AMWA is a nonprofit organization of the nation's largest publicly owned water systems, represented within the association by their CEOs. Collectively, AMWA member-agencies serve more than 110 million people with clean, safe water.

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