Carole Baker, President and CEO
Texas Water Foundation
The WaterNow Leadership Award recognizes and honors leaders of extraordinary vision who, throughout their careers, have had a major impact in advancing sustainable water management strategies, and protecting water resources for the future.
The WaterNow Alliance 2019 Leadership Award is presented to Carole Baker for her tireless commitment to protecting Texas’s water resources, advocating for water use efficiency, and educating the public and decision-makers about the value of water and the critical need to steward this vital resource.
Carole has served as a model for water leaders to come, not only in Texas but nationwide. From the Texas statehouse to the American Water Works Association to numerous state and local commissions and committees, Carole Baker has advanced a vision of water management based on rational policy-making and building a widely shared understanding about the important role of water.
Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Cook County, Illinois
THE CHALLENGE: The Chicago region has struggled with storm water runoff and contamination of its local waterways for some time. But many local stakeholders viewed the “one water” concept and other innovative strategies with apprehension.
THE SOLUTION: As a newly elected Commissioner with an urban planning background, Ms. Morita realized that onsite water reuse would save billions of gallons of water per year reducing impact to over-taxed storm water systems. She became a leading advocate for Plumbing Code amendments to allow for on-site non-potable reuse.
LEADERSHIP: Commissioner Morita is quickly proving to be one of the nation’s most energetic and effective advocates for sustainable water policy. She has built public awareness around the value of water by organizing the “Big Jump”, an annual event in which prominent officials attest to improved water quality by jumping into the Chicago River. She has skillfully brokered support for non-potable reuse legislation by bringing together differing stakeholders and finding areas of common ground while navigating around roadblocks. Through innovation and collaboration, she is supporting a more resilient and equitable water future in the Chicago region and beyond.
City of Hays
THE CHALLENGE: The City of Hays’ water supply was inadequate to support the community’s growing demand and City Commissioners were grappling with the difficulty of delivering sufficient water supplies to allow for economic growth while ensuring the sustainability and reliability of their water resources.
THE SOLUTION: City Commissioners instituted conservation programs and public education campaigns to reduce water use. When the City purchased additional water rights on a local ranch, they committed to ensuring the long-term integrity of the local aquifer and limited their annual withdrawals to ensure a perpetual and renewable water source.
LEADERSHIP: The Commissioners’ commitment to sustainable, innovative water solutions has led the the City to become the leader in water conservation in the state of Kansas, with the lowest per capita water use. Their leadership in sustainably managing their local aquifer will ensure the protection of this water source for future generations.
Commissioner, Department of Watershed Management
THE CHALLENGE: The City of Atlanta has struggled to manage storm water that has led to flooding, degraded water quality and property damage, and runoff that has caused significant harm to local streams. Green infrastructure, an important part of the solution, presented complex financing issues.
THE SOLUTION: In January 2019, Atlanta issued the first publicly offered Environment Impact Bond (EIB) to scale green infrastructure projects. The $14 million EIB will provide financing for 6 GI projects to manage storm water and alleviate flooding and water quality impacts in vulnerable communities while providing workforce opportunities and access to greenspace.
LEADERSHIP: Commissioner Powell has demonstrated exemplary leadership in envisioning and implementing the first-ever publicly issued outcomes-based financing deal. Her vision enabled the project partners to work through a myriad of complex engineering, financing and procurement obstacles in order to successfully finance large-scale green infrastructure solutions, while minimizing risk to Atlanta’s rate payers. Her commitment to innovation and pursuit of high-value, impactful services to vulnerable communities was invaluable in enabling this critical water resilience project to come together.