News & Press
Macon Water Authority receives national recognition
The Macon Water Authority has received a major national award for sustainable management of its water system from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, an industry group representing the nation’s largest publicly owned drinking water utilities.
The authority was one of four utilities nationally to win a Gold Award this year for exceptional utility performance at the association’s annual meeting in Portland, Ore., according to the association’s website.
The award is given to utilities that have shown a commitment and dedication to sustainability, their local community and the environment through effective management, according to a news release. The criteria were drafted by a consortium of national water utility groups, the Water Environment Federation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Among the performance measures are product quality, customer satisfaction, financial viability, community sustainability and infrastructure stability.
The association cited several specific examples of the authority’s actions that met or exceeded the gold standard, including revamping its customer care and field service departments, voluntarily developing a watershed protection plan, conducting long-range water audits, GIS mapping all its infrastructure, and testing and replacing its equipment such as valves and meters on a regular basis.
It also praised the authority’s involvement in the community through land donations, park creation and financial support for industrial development.
“It’s a great thing,” said Tony Rojas, the authority’s director, from the conference in Oregon. “It says a lot about the work we’ve done over the last eight or nine years to improve our operations.”
He pointed out that most other utilities that won the award -- Denver Water, Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority, and the Suffolk (NY) County Water Authority -- cover a much larger geographic area or have a much larger customer base.
Rojas expressed satisfaction that the late Frank Amerson, who served as chairman of the authority’s board for three decades until his death last month, knew about the award.
“It’s a complement to Frank,” Rojas said. “His foresight, his acumen, his financial brilliance, and board members willing to support that, and employees who take pride in taking on new challenges ... Our employees get excited about an opportunity to look at what we do and find a better way to do it.”
Many of the authority managers joined Rojas in Oregon to accept the award Monday, while several authority board members spent Monday and Tuesday in New York meeting with ratings agencies.
Rojas said board members Bert Bivins and Frank Patterson attended that already scheduled meeting to assure officials with Moody’s as well as Standard & Poor’s that the authority will remain financially strong and fiscally responsible even without Amerson at the reins. The authority has one of the highest bond ratings of any local government.
Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/10/23/2223048/macon-water-authority-wins-national.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy