U.S. Water Prize Recipients Recognized in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Water PrizeOn Earth Day, April 22, the U.S. Water Alliance presented its 2013 U.S. Water Prize to the three winners in a ceremony appropriately held at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. This year?s recipients were MillerCoors, The Freshwater Trust and Onondaga County, N.Y.

The Honorable William K. Reilly (U.S. EPA Administrator 1989-93) addressed the audience of 300 environmental leaders who gathered to honor the awardees, recounting environmental challenges over the years and the growing need for innovative solutions.

Kim Marotta, MillerCoors director of sustainability, accepted the award for MillerCoors and acknowledged her co-partners in the effort ? the Nature Conservancy and the Idaho Silver Creek barley farmers. ?Together, our national organizations and the farmers in this project have made a real difference in watershed stewardship, hundreds of miles away from the ultimate purchasers and consumers of our MillerCoors products,? said Marotta. The company?s comprehensive water strategy, which has also seen great success in reducing the water footprint in its breweries, presents an action plan for the company?s water future.

The Freshwater Trust (TFT), an Oregon-based, national non-profit, was awarded the Water Prize for its cutting-edge, collaborative work to save rivers and streams in the Pacific Northwest. For seven years, the program has been enabling regulated entities to achieve regulatory compliance by restoring rivers and streams and includes new tools such as market-based trading to create incentives and efficiencies to keep cleaner, cooler water flowing. ?We?re insuring it?s not a shell game,? described President Joe Whitworth when accepting the award.? ?We?re avoiding massive expenditures, by having watershed-based parameters in the system that offers transparency and is verifiable.??

Joanie Mahoney accepted the award for Onondaga County, N.Y. ?As the first county with a consent order to use green infrastructure, we knew we were going to be a model,? explained Mahoney, an executive with Onondaga County. ?Receiving the U.S. Water Prize affirms that we made the right decision.? When faced with the task of reducing the frequency of combined sewer overflows Onondaga County officials convinced the federal court to amend the consent order to allow a more balanced approach where green and gray (pipes in the ground) infrastructure complement each other. It was a bold step that saved $20 million in projected savings and paid off in social benefits beyond the dollars saved. Public-private partnerships were also an essential ingredient in the county?s success.

The U.S. Water Alliance presents the annual award to foster action and public support for water sustainability. Nominations were reviewed by an independent panel of judges including some of the most respected names in the water and environmental sector. ?We?re honoring three champions who are diverse in so many ways, yet united in their passion and action to integrate and innovate for ?one water? sustainability,? proclaimed Ben Grumbles, president of the U.S. Water Alliance. ?They are winners for their courage to think and act outside the box and sometimes against the current.??

The U.S. Water Prize, first launched in 2011, is organized and administered by the U.S. Water Alliance. Through the prize, the national non-profit underscores the value of water and the need for one water integration, innovation, and collaboration among environmental, business, utility and community leaders. Sharing these goals, sponsors joined together to make the celebration possible including:? CH2M HILL, Veolia North America, Brown and Caldwell, ARCADIS, CDM Smith and MWH-Global.?

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