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NWRI Award of Excellence


The NWRI Award of Excellence was established in 2002 to recognize water supply and quality projects that demonstrate leadership and commitment to improve water supplies, protect public health and the environment, and enhance the value of water.

Singapore Public Utilities Board
The first NWRI Award of Excellence was presented to the Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) in 2002 for their pioneering research and application of reverse osmosis and microfiltration membrane technology to create new source waters for their nation. In addition, the PUB recognized the need to provide the public with accurate information regarding technology and how it is used to create new sources of water. The NEWater Visitors Center is a masterful creation that allows the public to enter into the world of water and gain a deeper understanding of the value of water.

Honolulu Board of Water SupplyThe second NWRI Award of Excellence was given in 2004 to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (HBWS) in recognition of their forward thinking and planning that included the emerging membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology to enhance the water supply options of an insular population. The efforts of the HBWS clearly enabled MBR technology an opportunity to demonstrate its applicability to sustain both the population and economy of over 1-million people living on an island with limited space and limited resources.

O.C. Water DistrictThe third NWRI Award of Excellence was presented to the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) in 2006 for leadership on the Groundwater Replenishment System, a world-class indirect potable reuse project developed to purify and reuse treated wastewater to near-distilled quality to provide a reliable source of water for 2.8-million residents of Orange County, California. At present, the Groundwater Replenishment System is the largest advanced water purification facility in the world for indirect potable reuse. Its facilities include microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation
technologies to purify wastewaters.


west basinThe fourth NWRI Award of Excellence was presented to West Basin Municipal Water District in 2010 for its groundbreaking contribution to ocean water desalination research and dedicated efforts to create a new, locally controlled sustainable water supply. West Basin implemented “Water Reliability 2020,” an innovative program to reduce dependence on imported water supplies from 66% to 33% by the year 2020.  As part of this effort, West Basin constructed an Ocean-Water Desalination Demonstration Facility to utilize ocean protection technology at the source of intake and discharge.  The Demo Facility is conducting pioneering research on ocean withdrawal and concentrate management methods that protect the ocean environment, as well as testing plant operation optimization and energy efficiency and minimization. In addition, it includes an educational center focused on the benefits of reliable water supplies, including conservation, recycling, and ocean water desalination.


The fifth NWRI Award of Excellence was presented to the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) in 2012 for the successful completion of its 10-year Secondary Treatment Program.  Secondary treatment is the second stage of wastewater treatment, and involves the use of biological treatment processes to remove contaminants and/or bacteria. It can remove up to 90 percent of organic matter from wastewater. Over 10 years ago, leadership at OCSD made the decision to move to 100-percent secondary treatment (a special provision of the Clean Water Act allowed the district to treat water at a level less than full secondary treatment). OCSD invested in secondary treatment to ensure the highest quality water is released into the ocean and provided to the Groundwater Replenishment System. To do so, OCSD had to complete four construction projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars by December 31, 2012.  The four projects were completed on time and on budget.  Read the press release here.