Washington, D.C. — On April 13, 2015 at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington D.C., some 300 water leaders from across the nation will honor the 2015 U.S. Water Prize winners: the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, California; Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif.; and The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta. The keynote address will be by the Honorable Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. 

“This year’s awardees highlight the commitment and innovation we see throughout America’s water and business sectors,” said Tracy Mehan, Interim President of the U.S. Water Alliance. “The Alliance Board and staff offer their heartfelt congratulations to them all.”

The U.S. Water Prize was initiated five years ago by the U.S. Water Alliance to elevate those organizations with strategies that promote the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for one water sustainability. 

“These winners offer approaches that will build resiliency in the face of challenges like the California drought and other climate change impacts,” remarked Dick Champion, Chairman of the USWA Board of Directors.

City of San Diego Public Utilities Department’s Water Purification Demonstration Project is recognized as a trailblazer for reservoir augmentation. Halla Razak, Director of the Public Utilities Department explained that, “Pure Water San Diego will provide one-third of the City of San Diego’s water supply upon completion in 2035. Water supply independence is an ever important goal because of the increased pressure on imported water supplies due to recurring droughts, rising population, increasing costs and climate change. The City is committed to controlling more of its own destiny by implementing potable reuse.” The project findings are helping develop standards for potable reuse across the country.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and a collaboration of power companies, farmers, state and federal agencies, and environmental interests have established the world’s only interstate water quality trading project. “[The] project is an impressive example of how we can work together to realize solutions to our shared challenges,” remarked Bob Perciasepe, former deputy administrator of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and current President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “[It] has overcome challenges that have ended similar efforts and companies now have an opportunity to receive turn-key verified credits to meet their stewardship goals, address compliance needs, support farms, and protect ecosystems. I congratulate Jessica Fox and her team for this impressive project.”

The Coca-Cola Company has replenished an amount of water equivalent to more than 70 percent of its total beverage volume in North America, with an ultimate goal of being water neutral. Through collaborative partnerships, water efficiency in manufacturing operations and sharing best practices, the company is a corporate leader in advancing water sustainability. “Water is the main ingredient in our beverages. It’s essential to our business and vitally important to the communities we serve. We strive to be a steward of this precious resource by using it more efficiently and building community water projects – all with the goal of replenishing 100 percent of the water we use by 2020,” explains Sandy Douglas, President of Coca-Cola North America. “We humbly thank the partners who are helping us achieve this goal and the U.S. Water Alliance for acknowledging our efforts.”

This year’s U.S. Water Prize Ceremony is sponsored by CH2M HILL, Intel Corporation, and MWH Global.  “The U.S. Water Alliance is thankful for the support of our sponsors and their integral role in bringing attention to the winning organizations that are driving the United States to a more sustainable water future,” remarked Champion.

Nominations were reviewed by an independent, volunteer panel of judges respected as leaders in the fields of water and environmental policy: 

  • Monica Ellis, CEO of Global Environment & Technology Foundation and Global Water Challenge;
  • Stephanie Johnson, Senior Program Officer, National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board;
  • Rich Anderson, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council;
  • Stephen Schoenholtz, Professor, Virginia Tech, and Director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center; and
  • Robert Sussman, former Senior Advisor to the Administrator of U.S. EPA.