Central Arkansas Water Recipient of Three Top National Distinctions
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The year 2020 may have changed the game, but it has not slowed Central Arkansas Water down.
We’ve recently been named as one of five participating members of an inaugural national water and arts accelerator, recognized by the Partnership For Safe Water for our commitment to superior water quality, and been awarded with a Utility of the Future Today award for our innovation in community programs and education.
Our customers should know Central Arkansas Water employees are high-performing and innovative, doing our best to serve dependable, high-quality, low-cost, and safe water to nearly half a million consumers in the region.
One Water Alliance chose CAW as one of five utilities in its inaugural Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator.
The initiative will advance arts and cultural strategies in the water sector through a climate-related water challenge. After a competitive selection process, the Alliance named CAW as a pilot member along with Tucson Water, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Philadelphia Water Department, and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.
“We believe that bringing water utilities and artists together around climate issues will accelerate action on climate change in the water sector, boost long-term strategies and investments in between extreme events, and help utilities and vulnerable communities address climate trauma to find common ground solutions,” the Alliance said.
This program honors and recognizes forward-thinking initiatives and is a product of four national water industry associations.
The program recognized CAW in the area of Partnership and Engagement. This included the utility’s success in customer outreach on social media and through community partnerships, such as educational tours like our bi-annual “Citizens’ Water Academy,” events like our “Forest to Faucet” youth educational field days, and our summer teacher professional development program “Power of Water.”
“Water systems around the world are transforming operations through innovation and technology,” a program press release said, noting that the utilities recognized in 2020 are leading community engagement, forming unique partnerships, and building an internal culture of innovation.
Water Environment Federal President Jackie Jarrell said the transformational approach to utility management each of the honorees has shown benefits communities in several significant ways.
“The innovations coming to the water sector present an opportunity for a paradigm shift in the way utilities think about and solve long-standing challenges to clean and reliable water. WEF is excited to recognize Central Arkansas Water for embracing innovative ways to better serve its communities,” she said.
The Partnership for Safe Water is an unprecedented alliance of six prestigious drinking water organizations that works to optimize water systems and improve the quality of water delivered to customers.
CAW embarked on a years-long process to participate in the Partnership’s Distribution System Optimization Program designed to ensure water quality improvements are measured and validated over time. This month, the Partnership awarded CAW with its Director’s Award for Distribution Optimization.
The review committee wrote that CAW is “aggressively improving” our distribution system monitoring to meet goals set higher than federal regulations, “and it shows in the data.”
“CAW’s ability to see the Self-Assessment effort to completion even with the onset of the COVID pandemic and the implementation of a K-9 leak detector is impressive,” the committee wrote. “This shows a willingness to follow through on goal setting and creating innovative solutions.”
The utility’s Distribution Optimization Team that took on the years-long process of obtaining Partnership recognition was led by CAW’s Compliance Manager Sharon Sweeney and included members across utility departments. The Team will continue optimizing the distribution system while another CAW team works toward water treatment optimization.
“The Partnership for Safe Water framework proved extremely beneficial as it allowed the CAW team to work through a comprehensive audit of operations, processes, and practices at the utility,” Chief Operating Officer Blake Weindorf said. “Thanks to the collaboration and diversity of the team, they were able to evaluate, identify, and implement action plans to improve water quality across the CAW distribution system.”
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