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Company received 2008 Excellence in Public-Private Partnership Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors
American Water, the largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility company in the United States, announced today it has received the 2008 Excellence in Public-Private Partnership Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. This award honors the outstanding achievements made possible through the combined effort of cities and the members of the Mayors Business Council. American Water and the city of Buffalo, N.Y. were honored for the positive results of a public-private partnership and significant improvements to the city's water system.
The awards were presented in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 76th Winter Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Excellence in Public/Private Partnership Awards Breakfast.
"American Water is truly honored to receive such a prestigious award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors," said Donald Correll, president and chief executive officer of American Water. "This successful partnership demonstrates the support and solutions that American Water can offer municipalities to best manage their systems and provide reliable water service to their customers."
After six years of working with American Water, the city of Buffalo recognized $21 million in savings through operational and financial improvements. The public-private partnership between the city of Buffalo and American Water has made significant improvements to the city's water system, including the complete automation of customer records, the design and construction of a brand new customer service center and a new computerized maintenance and management system.
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "The city of Buffalo Water Board's public-private partnership continues to be a 'win-win-win' situation…The city wins by improving its water infrastructure and financial management. The city employees win by preserving valuable pensions and benefits. Most importantly, the taxpayer wins by getting clean, reliable water at a reasonable price and improved customer service."
By implementing alternative payment delivery methods that offered more flexibility and choice, the city's previous collection rates of 80% have risen to 97%, and revenues have exceeded 100% of service charges in three separate years.
Also, from an operational standpoint, American Water provided expertise to implement regulatory standards, improve water quality, and measure technical performance. Since the formation of the public-private partnership, water turbidity has gone down by 77%. In addition, American Water reduced the average winter's 250-300 main breaks and associated labor costs by installing a data system to monitor and control pump stations and to manage excess pressure. Only 128 main breaks occurred in 2006, compared to 265 in 2005.