South Dakota Named State Association of the Year at Annual NRWA Awards

RENO, Nev.– The South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems received the State Association of the Year award at the annual Tribute to Excellence awards ceremony, held on Sept. 18 at the WaterPro Conference in Reno, Nev.

“The most prestigious and most honored award is the State Association of the Year,” said Ed Savage, chair of the NRWA Awards Committee. “It is presented to the state association that projects a team effort in all areas of professional association operations and membership service.  The State Association of the Year has excelled in all categories of the award and this is only accomplished by teamwork, strong leadership and member support.”

“For almost 50 years, this Association has been well-respected for the high-quality training, services, publications and advocacy they provide their members,” Savage said. “With 12 employees and a combined total of 147 years of experience, this association trains hundreds of individuals in all aspects of water/wastewater management through workshops and conferences each year.”

The Rural Water Association of Utah was awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Communications, Publications and Public Relations.

“They have been working on cultivating a positive relationship with the news media outlets in their state which has resulted in excellent television and newspaper coverage on our highlight event of the year—the water taste test,” Savage said. “They have also improved their internal communication channels to make them indispensable tools for their members and the general public.”

The Idaho Rural Water Association won Outstanding Achievement in Legislative Initiatives.

“Idaho made a commitment to provide a strong, unified voice for their members. They work year-round as the advocate for rural system needs,” Savage said. “They invited Congressional Delegation offices to tour member rural water and wastewater systems. This provided the best opportunity for educating our representatives in Congress on the challenges rural water and wastewater systems face.”

Alabama Rural Water Association was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Technical Assistance.

“Technical Assistance became an emergency recently when EPA issued a ‘Health Advisory Notice’ for several systems. When a ‘No water consumption’ alert was issued, over 30,000 customers were without water to drink,” Savage said. “Rural Water organized financial entities, engineers, attorneys, system personnel, regulatory personnel and congressional representatives to discuss the infrastructure needs and cost. The Association then reached out to customers by delivering 15,000 bottles of water.  This significant technical assistance effort helped thousands of people.”

The Texas Rural Water Association was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Training.

“Texas is highly regarded when it comes to training. They offer classroom courses, online courses, regional workshops and conferences throughout the year. Last year, they trained over 6,700 individuals,” Savage said. “They have 26 classroom courses and six online courses that are approved for operator certification credit; and they developed 12 additional online courses that are offered in 21 other states. Online courses have totaled over 2,200 in 2016. Each year their instructors conduct over 100 classes at 30 locations, that reach nearly 1,600 students, as well as a training contract with one of the top 10 largest municipal utilities in the nation.”

The Kentucky Rural Water Association won Outstanding Achievement in Member Services Award.

“Taking care of members is their number one priority, and the strength of the association is directly related to the strength of their members,” Savage said. “Kentucky’s member service efforts focus on building strong relationships and strengthening the water & wastewater industries by providing networking and learning opportunities for members as well as services such as: CCR Hosting, a Finance Corporation, a Compliance Check Program, a Record Keeping Package and Information Technology Assistance and other programs.”