Macon Water Authority Reaches Gold Standard
MACON, GA (October 22, 2012) -by Dr. Chris Wood - Many utilities aspire to a gold standard that is indicative of organizational excellence, but the Macon Water Authority (MWA) actually has achieved such a mark.
The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) has honored the MWA with its Gold Award this year for exceptional utility performance, making the presentation to Authority officials during the Association’s awards ceremony of the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.
As for the AMWA gold standard, the Macon Water Authority is in select company. The MWA’s Gold Award from the AMWA marks only the fourth time a water utility from the state of Georgia has won this prestigious national honor.
“The receipt of this award is a credit to our Board and the employees of the Authority, reflecting their dedication that is being recognized nationally, while placing our utility in select company,” says Tony Rojas, Executive Director of the MWA. “Our Board continues to provide us with the support and resources we need to improve our operations. And our employees, through their efforts and hard work, make it possible for us to provide our customers with the quality services they deserve.”
The AMWA, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other water industry professional associations, has identified distinct, effective management practices necessary for water utilities to achieve long-term sustainability. As a result, this collaboration of industry professionals spearheaded by the AMWA has developed 10 attributes of Effectively Managed Utilities, as well as five Keys to Management Success, which serve as the basis for Gold Award recognition. These attributes not only focus on financial and operational goals of a utility, but they consider all significant aspects of water and wastewater utility management.
The AMWA Gold Award was established in 2001, and has since been given only to those select U.S. utilities that have shown a commitment and dedication to sustainability, their local community, and the environment, through effective utility management according to the attributes and keys to utility management success as defined by the AMWA and its collaborators. The industry organizations providing panelists who scripted the utility management criteria for Gold Award status included the: American Public Works Association, American Water Works Association, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies, and Water Environment Federation, in addition to the AMWA and EPA.
AMWA officials, during the Association’s Annual Meeting in Portland, recognized 14 public drinking water systems with its top utility management awards, four of which were Gold Awards for “Exceptional Utility Performance.” The MWA joins Denver (Colorado) Water, Grand Strand (South Carolina) Water & Sewerage Authority, and Suffolk County (New York) Water Authority, as 2012 AMWA Gold Award recipients.
“AMWA’s 2012 award winners are industry-leading water systems with innovative managers and dedicated workforces who create sustainable utilities marked by high quality, affordable water, responsive customer service, and attention to resource management and environmental protection,” says Pat Mulroy, AMWA President. “The accomplishments of these exceptionally well-run public utilities should be a source of pride for the communities they serve.”
The nationally recognized Attributes of Effective Utility Management necessary for attaining AMWA Gold Award status are industry standards that cover utility performance in the areas of: (1) product quality, (2) customer satisfaction, (3) employee and leadership development, (4) operational optimization, (5) financial viability, (6) infrastructure stability, (7) operational resiliency, (8) community sustainability, (9) water resource adequacy, and (10) stakeholder understanding and support.
The AMWA evaluation of the Macon Water Authority’s attributes included praise for the utility’s overall focus on being a truly progressive, proactive and community-centered partner with residents and businesses. Specific examples of MWA performance reaching or exceeding the AMWA Gold standard included the utility’s community involvement, such as through land donations, park creation, financial support for industry development, and environmental stewardship of local rivers.
In addition, the MWA was applauded for revamping its Customer Care and Field Services departments, for voluntarily developing a watershed protection plan, and for its proactive role in regional planning, both economic and environmental. Furthermore, AMWA officials noted the MWA’s proactive approach to asset management, including a full mapping of assets through a GIS focus, as well as the utility’s practices of valve exercising, manhole rehabilitation, and meter replacement.
Finally, the AMWA leadership, through its Gold Award designation, praised the MWA for its long-range water audit program, its strong financial stewardship and planning, as well as its annual financial support for the Macon/Bibb County Industrial Authority.
The AMWA is the industry organization representing the nation’s largest publicly owned drinking water utilities. Its members provide safe and clean drinking water to more than 133 million Americans.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
[email protected] (email)