Press Releases

Water Utilities Recognized as Industry and Community Leaders in Solving Water Challenges

Sep 19, 2023

The Utility of the Future Today program is pleased to recognize 47 water utilities that are benefiting their communities and inspiring the water sector through innovative, future-focused, transformational programs. The 2023 honorees will be recognized in person at WEFTEC 2023, the Water Environment Federation’s annual technical conference, on Tuesday, October 3, from 1:00-3:15 p.m. CT, in Chicago, IL.

“Of all the challenges faced by our cities and the environment, water is at the top of the list for many communities. Water utilities are the front line in tackling these challenges,” says Todd Swingle, CEO and Executive Director of the Toho Water Authority, which has been honored six times by the program.

He adds: “The Utility of the Future Today program helps us mark our progress in meeting the changing needs of the communities we serve as we deliver on a sustainable future that prioritizes resilience through a strategy of resource conservation and recovery.”

Launched in 2016 and judged by a panel of experts made up of utility professionals, general managers, and water experts, the Utility of the Future Today program recognizes water utilities that are reimagining community partnership and engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients.

Utility of the Future Today is a partnership of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Research Foundation (WRF), the WateReuse Association, and the U.S. Water Alliance. The program is supported by advisory partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). 

This year’s honorees include 9 utilities that are being recognized for the first time and 38 previous honorees that are being recognized for excellence in new activity areas.

First Time Honorees

Utility Area of Activity
City of Santa Monica Water Reuse
Denver Water Partnering & Engagement
Dubai Municipality Nutrient Reduction & Materials Recovery

EPCOR Water Services Inc. Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant

Beneficial Biosolids Use
Ontario Clean Water Agency

Partnering & Engagement

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Water Reuse
San Jose Water Watershed Stewardship
Toronto Water Energy Generation & Recovery
Town of Jupiter, FL Partnering & Engagement

Previous Honorees Recognized in a New Area of Activity in 2023

Utility Area of Activity

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

Energy Generation & Recovery
Alexandria Renew Enterprises Partnering & Engagement

Anne Arundel County, Department of Public Works - Bureau of Utility Operations

Energy Generation & Recovery

Broward County Water & Wastewater Operation, North Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant

Nutrient Reduction & Materials Recovery
Capitol Region Watershed District Watershed Stewardship
City of Boca Raton Utility Services

Beneficial Biosolids Use

City of El Dorado, Wetlands and Water Reclamation Facility

Watershed Stewardship
City of Fayetteville, Utility Department Nutrient Reduction & Materials Recovery
City of Pompano Beach Partnering & Engagement
City of St. Cloud Energy Generation & Recovery
City of Vancouver (Washington) Partnering & Engagement
Clean Water Services Energy Generation & Recovery
Eastern Municipal Water District Water Reuse
EPCOR Water Reuse
Fairfax County Wastewater Management Program Energy Efficiency
Glenbard Wastewater Authority Energy Efficiency
Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) Nutrient Reduction & Materials Recovery

Holland Board of Public Works Water Reclamation Facility

Nutrient Reduction & Materials Recovery
Irvine Ranch Water District Watershed Stewardship
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Water Reuse
McAllen Public Utility Partnering & Engagement

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Partnering & Engagement
Moulton Niguel Water District Partnering & Engagement
Oakland County Water Resources Watershed Stewardship
Orange County Sanitation District Water Reuse
Orange County Water District Water Reuse
Philadelphia Water Department Watershed Stewardship

Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

Beneficial Biosolids Use
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Partnering & Engagement
Silicon Valley Clean Water Energy Generation & Recovery
South Platte Renew Energy Efficiency
Southern Nevada Water Authority Partnering & Engagement
Toho Water Authority Energy Efficiency
Town of Cary, Utilities Energy Generation & Recovery
Tucson Water Water Reuse
University Area Joint Authority Water Reuse
Western Virginia Water Authority Energy Generation & Recovery

To learn more, visit wef.org/utility-of-the-future or email UtilityRecognition@wef.org



The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for all member utilities, and ensures they have the tools necessary to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all.  Our vision is to represent every utility as a NACWA member, helping to build a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org. NACWA Media Contact: Nathan Gardner-Andrews, 202.833.3692, ngardner-andrews@nacwa.org.

About WRF

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is a nonprofit, educational organization that funds, manages, and publishes research on the technology, operation, and management of drinking water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater systems in pursuit of protection of public health and the environment. WRF represents approximately 1,200 subscribers, hosts an online research library of more than 2,300 completed projects valued at $700 million, manages an innovation platform with a database of more than 140 innovative technologies, and supports the world’s largest body of stormwater best practice data. For more information, visit www.waterrf.org. WRF Media Contact: Lexie Vean, 303.717.2848, lvean@waterrf.org 

About the WateReuse Association

The WateReuse Association is the nation’s only trade association solely dedicated to advancing laws, policy, funding, and public acceptance of recycled water. The WateReuse Association represents a coalition of utilities that recycle water, businesses that support the development of recycled water projects, and users of recycled water. Our members are incorporating water reuse into their water management strategies as a proven method for ensuring a safe, reliable, locally controlled water supply. To learn more, visit www.watereuse.org. WateReuse Media Contact: Zachary Dorsey, 571.445.5503, zdorsey@watereuse.org

About the US Water Alliance

The US Water Alliance is a nonprofit organization that educates the nation on the true value of water and water equity, accelerates the adoption of One Water principles and solutions, and celebrates innovation in water management. The Alliance brings together diverse interests to identify and advance common-ground, achievable solutions to our nation's most pressing water challenges. Our nearly 200 members and partners include community leaders, water providers, public officials, business leaders, environmental organizations, policy organizations, and more. Learn more at www.uswateralliance.org. US Water Alliance Media Contact: Abigail Gardner, agardner@thevalueofwater.org


Contact: Heidi Bragg, hbragg@wef.org

About WEF

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of more than 30,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Established in 1928, WEF’s mission is to inspire the water community in pursuit of human and environmental well-being. WEF’s goals are to attract and develop a passionate workforce, cultivate a purpose-driven community to sustainably solve water challenges for all, and lead the transformation to the circular water economy.

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