Washington - January 25, 2007
Partnerships between private water utilities and municipalities will become increasingly important in helping cities overcome the "huge burdens of infrastructure improvement and the conservation of water," according to Donald L. Correll, President and CEO of American Water, the country's largest privately owned water services company.
Mr. Correll made the remarks at the 75th U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting here. He spoke as he presented the 2006 Municipal Water Conservation Achievement Awards to the mayors of San Antonio and Seattle.
Noting that a survey taken by the Urban Water Council in 2005 showed that 53% of cities responding would consider public-private partnerships as an alternative solution, Mr. Correll added: "I believe that in the years ahead Public-Private Partnerships will be instrumental in helping cities overcome the huge burdens of infrastructure improvement and the conservation of water. These partnerships are essential as they will provide highly trained expertise, creative solutions for infrastructure and water reuse, and quality control measures that can save billions of gallons through the utilization of advanced technology."
He said his company currently is participating in public-private partnerships in Buffalo, Seattle, Tampa, and Phoenix that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
Sponsored by American Water, the Awards Program was established to urge cities to initiate, continue, or expand what they are doing to conserve water resources. Discovering that "doing the right thing for the environment...is the best financial deal for the entire community," the San Antonio Water system succeeded in reducing its water use from 225 gallons per capita per day in 1980 to 132 gpcd in 2006, despite a population increase of 70%. The city's award for City Water Conservation Achievement was given to Mayor Phil Hardberger.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickles accepted the award for Innovative City Water Conservation for a program that targets low income housing and conservation retrofits. The Seattle conservation program has resulted in water consumption levels not seen since the 1970s, despite a 30% increase in regional population.
"Above all other traits, these awards recognize creativity," Mr. Correll said. "It takes a truly creative mind to find a new and better way to deliver what most people take for granted, but what is in fact extremely complex and challenging - providing safe water that flows every time we turn on the tap."
Mr. Correll said that by finding innovative ways to conserve their water, San Antonio and Seattle have helped improve the lifespan of their water infrastructure systems. "The importance of water conservation is especially critical at this time," he said. "Mayors face serious challenges in replacing and updating aging water infrastructure within their communities. Initiatives like these can address infrastructure issues as well as potential future supply challenges."
With headquarters in Voorhees, NJ, American Water employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide high-quality water, wastewater and other related services to about 17 million people in 29 states and Canada.