ACWA Excellence in Water Leadership Award

ACWA's Excellence in Water Leadership Award – Building a World of Difference® recognizes people (individuals or groups) who have made a remarkable and visible contribution to the enhancement, protection or development of water resources in California. (Specific projects and programs are not eligible.)

The recipient has the honor of presenting a $5,000 charitable donation to a non-profit organization that works toward the enhancement and / or protection of California’s water resources. The award is sponsored by Black & Veatch Corporation.

Nomination forms must be received by MARCH 1 of each year. The award is presented annually at ACWA's Spring Conference & Exhibition.

Past Award Recipients

Mary Henrici, 2016

Mary Henrici accepted the challenging position as general manager of Rio Linda/Elverta Community Water District in 2011. Her turnaround of a district in disarray has been described as “nothing short of remarkable.”

Through Henrici's leadership of staff and a positive working relationship with the district’s Board of Directors, Rio Linda / Elverta systematically addressed issues ranging from financial practices and staff training to system maintenance and much-needed capital improvements.

David Orth, 2015

David Orth, recently retired general manager of Kings Conservation District. established himself as a true leader and steward of California's water resources on both the local and statewide levels.

He played a critical role in the development of the integrated Upper King's Basin, as well as the formation of the Southern San Joaquin Valley Water Irrigated Lands Program.

Paul Jones II (2014)

Paul Jones, general manager of Eastern Municipal Water District, has devoted his entire career to California water. Jones has helped advance recycled water programs throughout California and the nation. He served as past president of the California WateReuse Association and as California’s representative on the WateReuse National Board of Directors.

John Rossi and Marsi Steirer (2013)

Rossi, Western Municipal General Manager, long-time leader in securing safe and reliable water supplies for the Inland Empire and Southern California region, enhancing water rights and tripling the capacity of the district’s recycling facilities. Tireless advocate for investments in water use efficiency.

Steirer’s 25-year career includes leading a team of engaged in developing, planning, water recycling, groundwater development, watershed management and potable reuse through the city’s Water Purification Demonstration Project.

Max Sakato (2012)

Twenty two-year general manager of Reclamation District 1500 and Sutter Mutual Water Company who formed and led the Sacramento Valley Flood Control Action Workgroup, which brought together rural and urban interests to provide locally acceptable solutions to the Department of Water Resources as it developed the comprehensive Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Below is the award presentation at ACWA's 2012 Spring Conference & Exhibition.

Daniel G. Nelson (2011)

Nineteen-year executive director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority whose contributions to California water include collaborating in the “Three-Way Process,” which led to the signing of the Bay Delta Accord and the CALFED program.

Walter J. Bishop (2010)

Seventeen-year general manager for Contra Costa Water District whose contributions to California water include overseeing design and construction of Los Vaqueros Reservoir, participating in key negotiations on Delta policies and founding a center for water and wastewater that has educated dozens of California water leaders.

Recycled Water Stakeholders Group (2009)

An (unlikely) coalition of water and environmental advocates whose members bridged their differences to craft a workable statewide recycled water policy in less than four months. The State Water Resources Control Board later approved the policy with few changes.