Global Water Resources, a utility serving the City of Maricopa and surrounding areas, has been awarded a “Utility of the Future” award from the Water Environment Federation, cited for its superior water reuse strategies.
Global Water’s Total Water Management approach to its service areas is based on owning and operating water, wastewater and recycled water utilities within the same geographic area to maximize the reuse of water resources.
Global Water Resources President and CEO Ron Fleming said in a press release: “The rapid growth of the communities we serve combined with our TWM approach has presented us the opportunity to achieve meaningful results, including the nearly complete beneficial use of recycled water and the successful implementation of our industry leading technology platform.”
The utility owns 12 water-related companies in Pinal and Maricopa counties, the largest of which are the water and sewer companies serving the City of Maricopa. Treated wastewater from its sewer plant is used throughout the community for landscaping and other nonpotable uses, as well as recharging the aquifer.
Global Water also incorporates “smart” water management programs including remote metering infrastructure and other advanced technologies, rate designs and incentives that result in resource conservation within water-scarce areas experiencing population growth, according to its announcement of the award.
“This award reflects our vision of becoming an enduring utility with a professional staff focused on quality customer service, excellence in water resources delivery, and management of water scarcity through innovation in water recycling and technologies,” noted Global Water Resources Vice President of Water Resources Jake Lenderking.
“Through key industry partnerships, we have continued to advance the science and facilitate the sharing of knowledge regarding TWM and how it supports the use of recycled water and an overall reduction in water use per customer,” he added.
Global Water said its infrastructure, which includes a separate set of pipes for recycled water for new homes and businesses, accompanied by educational programs on the benefits of using recycled water, has increased the area’s annual water reuse from zero in 2003 to 8.5 million gallons in 2020.
It also partners with the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center, which studies the use of recycled water and its level of public acceptance.
The Utility of the Future Today program, created in 2016, intends to create a community of water use and reuse companies working to improve resource efficiency and recovery while building sustainable communities.
Global Water is one of 65 companies recognized for 2020. The program received a record-high number of applications and handed out the most awards in its history this year, according to the Water Environment Federation website.
The awards are presented at WEFTEC, the world’s largest trade show for water quality professionals, typically drawing around 30,000 attendees. This year it was held in virtual format Oct. 5 to Oct. 9.
The Water Environment Federation is part of a consortium of water utility associations including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Water Research Foundation and the WateReuse Association, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.