Water agencies recognized for environmental efforts

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) presented four water agencies with the water community's most prestigious award for environmental stewardship.

Dec 5th, 2003

Recipients of statewide Theodore Roosevelt Award announced

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 5, 2003 -- The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) presented four water agencies with the water community's most prestigious award for environmental stewardship.

Alameda County Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Irvine Ranch Water District and Kern County Water Agency were named recipients of the 2003 Theodore Roosevelt Environmental Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Management. The awards were presented at ACWA's annual fall conference in San Diego on December 3.

Since 1993, ACWA has presented the Theodore Roosevelt Award each year to recognize water agencies for programs that protect natural resources while meeting public needs. Winners are selected in three budget categories.

"Despite the challenges of a growing population and ever-tightening regulations, water agencies remain committed to meeting the needs of the environment as well as the people they serve," ACWA President Bette Boatmun said.

In the first budget category ($100,000 or less), Alameda County Water District won top honors for its efforts to reduce the use of lead fishing tackle in Quarry Lake. Concerned about lead toxicity in the environment, the District launched a program to educate local anglers about the issue and allow them to exchange their gear for lead-free weights and sinkers at no cost. Since the start of the program in September 2002, over 223 pounds of lead has been collected and properly recycled.

Municipal Water District of Orange County and Irvine Ranch Water District captured the award in the second budget category ($100,000 to $1 million). The districts were recognized for their successful residential runoff reduction study. The 18-month study demonstrated the benefits of using "smart" irrigation controllers to help reduce urban runoff. It also helped attract over $1 million in grant funding to install 5,000 controllers in Orange County, which in turn will save water and reduce urban runoff and beach pollution.

In the third budget category ($1 million or more), the award went to Kern County Water District for its Kern River Recharge and Recreation Program. Using $23 million in Proposition 13 grant money, the agency obtained water rights on the Kern River, constructed new wells and groundwater recharge areas and made other improvements to keep water flowing in the Kern. The effort has revitalized the river in metropolitan Bakersfield and provided environmental, recreational and water supply reliability benefits.

"The programs of these winning agencies reflect a commitment to conservation and watershed management," Boatmun said. "We're proud to continue our tradition of honoring and celebrating that commitment."

ACWA is a statewide non-profit organization whose 447 public agency members are collectively responsible for 90 percent of the water delivered in California for residential and agricultural use.

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