Clair A. Hill Agency Award for Excellence

ACWA’s Clair A. Hill Agency Award for Excellence recognizes exemplary programs developed by ACWA member agencies. Agency size is not a determining factor in evaluating potential recipients for this award. Award recipients are selected based on demonstrated success in creatively addressing water industry issues, commitment to water use efficiency and conservation, leadership in broad water-related issues, and excellence in agency management and operations.

The winning agency has the honor of selecting the finalists for a $5,000 college scholarship. The award is sponsored by Jacobs.

Apply for this Award

Please review the Clair A. Hill Agency Award for Excellence Guidelines thoroughly before completing the award application. Applicants who do not meet the minimum eligibility requirements will not be considered. Applications for the 2024 award cycle are now closed. The 2025 cycle will open later this year. 


  • The recipient must be a public agency member of ACWA.
  • The winning program must have been completed and have been in operation no longer than five years.
  • An agency may not submit again for three years after winning.
  • An agency may submit no more than one entry per year.

Requirements for Entries

  • Entries must explain the program and how it meets the criteria for selection (max of 1,000 words- entries more than 1,000 words will NOT be considered).
  • Entires must include a program budget.
  • Finalists will be asked to provide 10 to 15 photos, graphics, video clips or other visuals (high resolution electronic formats preferred) that represent their entry for purposes of the awards presentation.
  • Finalists will be asked to develop a tabletop exhibit to showcase their entry at the ACWA Spring Conference.

Examples of Entries

A wide variety of projects and programs are eligible, including:

  • Capital Improvements
  • Water Quality Improvement
  • Local Resources Development
  • Integrated Regional Water Management Plan
  • Watershed / Ecosystem Protection
  • Renewable Energy
  • Governance / Administration
    *Public information / outreach / education programs and efforts are not eligible.

Criteria for Selection

Eligible projects or programs must:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence
  • Show creativity and innovation in addressing water industry issues
  • Be environmentally sensitive or beneficial
  • Show clear, quantifiable evidence of success
  • Make effective use of funding and show fiscal responsibility

Examples of Previous Winning Program Entries

  • Del Puerto Water District for its North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program. Taking treated municipal wastewater from Modesto and Turlock and making it available as an irrigation supply for more than 45,000 acres of highly productive farmland, the program is an innovative solution to water supply and reliability issues in the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Mojave Water Agency for its Small Systems Assistance Program. By providing technical assistance and support to small water systems, the program is helping to secure critical state and federal funding for projects in economically disadvantaged communities within San Bernardino County.
  • Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority for its Fish Passage Improvement Project at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, which provides unimpeded fish passage for threatened species, while at the same time allowing the Canal Authority to reliably divert water — in a fish-friendly way — to its 17 districts.
  • Contra Costa Water District for its expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, from 100,000 acre-feet to 160,000 acre-feet. The expansion was achieved efficiently and cost-effectively through innovative approaches to design, construction and environmental compliance.

Awards Presentation

At the ACWA Spring Conference, a special multimedia presentation will be featured to recognize all finalists and to announce the Clair A. Hill Agency Award winner. The winner will receive a special award, furnished by Jacobs, and a $5,000 scholarship in the name of Clair A. Hill, to be awarded to a deserving student the following year. A statewide ACWA news release will be prepared and disseminated by ACWA announcing the winner and finalists.

Scholarship Award

The winning agency will screen all scholarship applicants and submit three finalists to be reviewed by the ACWA Scholarship & Awards Subcommittee. The ACWA Scholarship & Awards Subcommittee will select one of the three finalists to be awarded the $5,000 scholarship.

Past Winners