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 CH2M.

Award Criteria

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


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. Past award recipients are not eligible to compete for the award for a period of three years thereafter.

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

Please note that public information / outreach / education programs and efforts are no longer eligible.

Entry Requirements

  • An agency may submit no more than one entry per year
  • Entries must be presented in a narrative description explaining the program and how it meets the criteria for selection
  • Entries must be typewritten, double-spaced, and no more than three pages
  • Entries must be submitted with an Official Entry Form
  • 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
  • All materials should be labeled with the agency name and a description of the subject matter (Note: These materials will not be returned and may be used in future promotion and publicity efforts by the association)
  • Finalists will be asked to develop a tabletop exhibit to showcase their entry at the ACWA Spring Conference
  • Entries must be received in the ACWA office no later than March 1 of each year

Examples of Previous Winning Entries

  • 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.

Selection Process

The selection committee will consist of designees from among ACWA’s committee chairs. The ACWA president and vice president will confer and identify the appropriate committee designees, based on the type of entries received. The ACWA vice president will chair the selection committee.

The selection committee will assemble, review and select the outstanding entries (up to six) to be designated as finalists.

The ACWA vice president, executive director and chairs of the Water Management, Water Quality and Communications committees will select one of the finalists to be the Clair A. Hill Award winner.

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 winner. The winner will receive a special award, furnished by CH2M, 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.

Application Materials

The 2017 cycle for this award is complete. Application materials for the next awards cycle will be posted in early 2018.

Past Winners

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