Water, the main challenge of the 21st century – Time to act!

Water, the main challenge of the 21st century – Time to act!

As a world citizen, you hear words like drought, global warming, planet expiration date, sustainable development often… You want to… Act but you don’t know where to start? Be involved without drastically change your lifestyle? Be a part of the Resource Revolution but not spend a month’s salary in water-saving devices? Good news: you can! And we are here to help you. For 10 years now, United Water has published Conservation Guides providing indoor and outdoor water saving tips, presenting what we do as a water services provider to protect one of the most precious resources on earth. Decreasing water availability is a global and serious issue that concerns every one of us, not only individuals but also industries, governments and companies. That’s why this summer, we launched a social media conservation campaign #TipsToSaveWater. Our goal is to provide easy, inexpensive and original water saving tips. Along the way, we discovered the website, “Water – Use it Wisely”. This website provides tips and devices to help you in your water saving quest. It also has an educational and creative section dedicated to children. What better way to raise your kids’ awareness than play a game? Feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to discover our tips published every Thursday all summer long. And, if you have  your own ways to save water, please share them in the comment sections below. About Water – Use it Wisely This communication campaign was launched 15 years ago. Since then, it has become a major campaign with more than 250 public and private water companies nationwide. The goal is to help people learn how to save water.   Find below all the tips we’ve...
United Water recognized for innovation by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships

United Water recognized for innovation by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships

We were talking about this new partnership we’ve made a few months ago with Nassau County. The goal was to improve the environmental health of waterways and return clean, treated water to surrounding bays and estuaries. Since we care about the protection of our shared natural resources, this is not the first time we took action to improve the wastewater quality. In 2013, the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association recognized the Town of Cohasset—whose operations are managed by United Water—as the best small wastewater treatment facility in the state. Our partnership with West Basin Municipal Water District in California is also an excellent example of our commitment to water quality: in partnership, we have been able to recycle and reuse wastewater to create five different streams of water. The partnership between United Water and Nassau County, called a “reason for hope” by County officials, was awarded yesterday by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) through its awards program at the annual P3 Connect 2015 Conference in Boston. The NCPPP is a non-profit organization which has been encouraging public-private partnership for over 20 years now. According to its president Art Smith, “NCPPP recognizes those organizations and individuals going above and beyond to advance the concept and implementation of public-private partnerships across the country.” Our partnership with the County was recognized because it illustrates a commitment to improving the quality of life of every Nassau County resident and a way of saving $230 million for the County and its taxpayers over the term of the agreement. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said “This contract is a milestone for Nassau County...
United Water continues to work towards ambitious energy reduction goals

United Water continues to work towards ambitious energy reduction goals

The United Water blog sat down with our company’s Energy Manager Elizabeth Watson to learn more about the goal to reduce energy usage by an additional five percent by the end of 2016. This goal is particularly ambitious since the company has already marked significant progress in this area:  since 2009, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in our operations by 16.5 % and shown a 28.5% improvement in energy efficiency. Elizabeth Watson, United Water’s first Energy Manager, has a dirty, little secret: Most clean water in this country is delivered with the help of dirty, coal-burning power plants. That’s because water requires pumping, and pumps require electricity, and almost half of U.S. electricity is produced by burning coal. Watson readily shares the secret in the hopes of pulling the plug on as much energy usage as possible. Right now, United Water uses 520 million kilowatt hours per year—enough to power 48,000 homes—to process and distribute water and wastewater. The company’s goal is to reduce energy usage five percent by the end of 2016. That’s enough energy to power 2,400 of those homes for a year. Why is United Water so invested in reducing energy? United Water cares a great deal about energy and sustainability, and we’ve done a lot over the years. We’re just stepping it up a notch. We already cut the company’s annual energy bill by $1.3 million and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 5,500 metric tons. But we still need to do more, and we are committed to make it happen to reduce energy usage by an additional five percent by the end of 2016! That is a...
In Tap Water We Trust

In Tap Water We Trust

  In the lead-up to National Drinking Water Week, a news article about French consumer confidence in tap water grabbed our attention. The survey found that 80% of respondents “trust” the water coming from their taps. Similarly 74% of respondents are satisfied with the quality of the water in their home and 69% appreciate the taste. We had incorrectly associated Perrier and Evian with what we assumed to be a bottled water tradition or preference in France. Maybe French spring water isn’t tres chic after all. Maybe Americans are the ones who are hooked on bottled water. Consider this: in recent U.S. surveys, only 53% of municipal water customers said they are likely to drink tap water versus bottled or otherwise filtered water. What gives? In an interview earlier this year with Duke University professor and author James Salzman, the United Water Blog asked this very question. If our water in the U.S. is among the cleanest in the world, why is bottled water so prevalent? The answer, in summary, was that water choices like many other ones, are influenced heavily by marketing. And very good marketing at that: bottled water sells for up to 1,000 times the price of tap water. Salzman found in his research for Drinking Water: A History that since the early 90s when Coke, Pepsi and Nestle entered the bottled water market and the consumption of bottled water skyrocketed, Americans have seemingly had an ambivalent relationship with tap water. Whereas in the 70s, if someone went into a gas station and asked for water they would have been directed to the hose outside. On...
Earth Day: Time for (Environmental) Spring Cleaning

Earth Day: Time for (Environmental) Spring Cleaning

Out of sight, out of mind. It’s a misguided approach which has harmed our environment since at least the Industrial Revolution. It’s allowed manufacturers to bury chemical waste by the barrel load, for cities to use rivers as sewers, for the country to neglect underground water infrastructure, and for individuals to use everything beyond their car window as one enormous trash bag. Over the next five years, United Water will invest nearly $1 billion in water infrastructure and professionally manage many sustainable waste and environmental projects.  But building a sustainable environment and managing community water resources cannot be accomplished with one single initiative or solution. On this Earth Day, we honor those environmental leaders who galvanize communities around problems like water pollution and who lead community volunteer initiatives, which are vital to keeping waters clean. Harm to our environment and watershed is often overlooked in the winter when fewer folks venture outdoors. Out of sight, out of mind. But then the snow melts, and we are reminded of our collective folly. Paint cans, old tires, shopping carts and who-knows-what sprout from melting snowdrifts on reservoir shores and riverbanks. Fortunately, when spring has sprung, so, too, have environmental leaders and volunteers, looking to clean up the mess left by a long winter. On this Earth Day, United Water and its employees will participate and support spring cleanups of reservoirs, rivers and other waterways across the country. We will canvass communities where we live and work from the White River in Indianapolis, to the Pascack Valley, Barnegat Bay and Cranbury Brook in New Jersey, to Newport, Rhode Island, to the Hudson...