New Program Challenging Utilities to Reduce Emissions

The American Water Works Association and Great Lakes Protection Fund are partnering to award cash prizes to Great Lakes Basin utilities that can reduce energy-related pollution in their distribution systems.

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The Great Lakes Protection Fund and American Water Works Association have launched the Water Utility Energy Challenge, a new program that engages water operators in a competition to reduce the emissions sourced in their energy generation. The competition is aimed at connecting the utilities with new innovative software while fostering an awareness of the associated emissions, particularly mercury.

The inaugural challenge and prize dollars (two top cash prizes of $20,000 and $10,000) will be focused on the Great Lakes Basin, but the technology is open source for utilities across the United States. There is no cost to enter, and competing utilities will receive software and tools to assist in monitoring and reporting emissions as well as hands-on technical assistance. The competition runs through 2018 with award and cash prizes presented that spring.

Trial round applications are now open and close Feb. 28. Finalists will be announced in March. Eligibility and rules are available here.

“AWWA is eager to collaborate with the Great Lakes Protection Fund on this forward-looking work. With its cutting edge technology and training component, the partnership will help water utilities optimize their energy consumption, use cleaner energy sources and, importantly, help keep the Great Lakes clean,” says David LaFrance, CEO of AWWA.

Adds David Rankin, vice president of programs for GLPF, “This challenge will showcase how utility leaders can use the cleanest energy to deliver clean, safe drinking water to their customers. The winners will demonstrate a new standard for reducing emissions and improving the financial health of their systems. We are delighted to partner with AWWA and its collaborators to protect and restore the health of our shared Great Lakes waters.”

For more information, visit     

About the Great Lakes Protection Fund
The Great Lakes Protection Fund (GLPF) is a private, nonprofit corporation formed in 1989 by the governors of the Great Lakes states. It is a permanent environmental endowment that supports collaborative actions to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem. To date, the fund has made 265 grants and program-related investments representing over $75 million to support the creative work of collaborative teams that test new ideas, take risks, and share what they learn. For more information, visit

About the American Water Works Association
Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life. For more information, visit


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