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Water Performance Initiative of the Year

For the initiative which represents the most significant commitment to improving the long-term performance of water services to the public.

Adelaide Metropolitan Water Distribution Network, Australia

What is it?

An initiative to digitise and strengthen the resilience of the distribution network owned by state-owned utility SA Water, which provides drinking water to more than 1.5 million customers in South Australia.

Who is responsible?

SA Water has transformed the day-to-day operations of Adelaide’s water supply system by leveraging advanced analytical technology in order to optimise the entire distribution network, from source to tap. MWH Global brought the expertise, Optimatics provided the optimisation software, and C3 Global (which has since been acquired by Bentley Systems) delivered the data analytics platform.

What makes it special?

SA Water has transformed Adelaide’s water network into a dynamic organism by adopting a suite of smart water technologies which combine real-time operational data with climate, energy, and population data to predict future demand. In doing so, it has minimised its cost of operations whilst maximising security of supply for more than 1 million customers.

While the move is a direct response to increasing urbanisation and a drying climate, it also makes sense for the utility’s bottom line. In the year ending 30 June 2014, SA Water saved over US$2.35 million in energy costs, and in the last six months of 2014, it slashed a further US$313,000 from its operational expenditure.


Climate change, suburban growth and severe drought continue to present very real challenges to South Australia’s future water security, and SA Water has invested heavily to address the situation. A US$313 million infrastructure project linking Adelaide’s historically separate northern and southern water zones through a series of new pipelines and pump stations was completed in 2014, allowing the transfer of water from the Adelaide Desalination Plant to wherever it is needed.


Denver Water Sustainability, USA

What is it?

A collaborative initiative to meet the water resourcing challenges faced by Denver Water, the utility providing raw and treated water to 1.3 million people in the city of Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding suburbs.

Who is responsible?

Denver Water is relentlessly driving its global sustainability profile forward with an impressive master plan that addresses water demand and supply issues head-on. A sparkling display of cooperation, innovation and leadership has seen it secure three landmark deals to safeguard the future of this water-scarce area.

What makes it special?

2014 saw the launch of the Colorado River System Conservation Program – a mammoth collaborative effort undertaken by four neighbouring utilities and the federal Bureau of Reclamation – to fund innovative compensation schemes to incentivise large-scale water reuse. The $11 million pilot fund, to which Denver Water contributed $2 million, is designed to fathom how much water could be made available from agricultural, municipal and industrial water entitlement holders across seven states in an emergency situation.

Meanwhile, Denver Water finished a key pipeline purchase deal with South Metro Water to make the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) partnership a reality. The scheme will see Denver Water buy in water supplies from Aurora’s Prairie Waters Project – an indirect potable reuse scheme built to save the City of Aurora from an impending water crisis in 2010. Denver Water, and several smaller communities south of Denver which rely excessively on depleting groundwater resources, will share Aurora’s excess capacity while Aurora boosts its revenue stream. A triple-win solution.


Over the past year, the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement (CRCA), led by Denver Water, has finally addressed long-standing disputes between east- and west-slope interests over water use in western Colorado. Mediating among 18 entities to resolve legal disputes and securing acceptances for future water transfers, Denver Water has acted decisively to safeguard tomorrow’s water supply – today.

The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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