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Champlain Water District (CWD) recently received the 2020 Utility of the Year Award from the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA), the region’s largest and oldest not-for-profit organization of water works professionals.
This award recognizes utilities which have made significant improvements to the water system infrastructure, customer service, staff training, and/or operations to further protect public health of the customers they serve. CWD received this award in the large-sized utility category.
Back in 1995, CWD was one of the first to sign up when the American Water Works Association and five partner organizations founded the Partnership for Safe Water. CWD would become the first water supplier in the nation to be awarded the Partnership’s Excellence in Water Treatment Award in 1999, and it received the unprecedented Excellence Award for 20 consecutive years in 2019.
Involvement in the partnership’s treatment optimization program has guided CWD’s ability to collaborate across all departments from the ground up to produce high quality water for 75,000 people and several large industrial customers in 12 water systems in northwestern Vermont.
Succession planning has played a key role in the continuation of CWD’s culture and involvement in the partnership. Over the past few years, four key long-term employees, with a total of 110 years of experience between them, have retired. Succession planning has allowed CWD to educate, mentor, and promote their current employees. CWD also took a holistic view of current and future goals, such that the succession plan identified future staffing needs to ensure that they have the right people in the right jobs today and in the years to come.
Because of the culture created through their partnership achievements, CWD is viewed as innovators and leaders, which has helped to bolster their level of public trust.
CWD was recognized with this award on September 23, 2020, during the virtual 139th Annual Conference.