Water Environment Federation Seeks Applications for Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program


The application period is open for the Utility of the Future Today recognition program, which seeks to honor water resource recovery facilities for community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients.

This year the application has been revised to encourage utilities serving as anchor institutions in their communities, with a focus on people both within the utility and within the community, and the inclusion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the utilities operations.

The Utility of the Future Today concept is being promoted as water systems transform operations through innovation and technology. The Utility of the Future is a model for utilities of all sizes to achieve more efficient operations, enhanced productivity, and long-term sustainability. Since the program launched in 2016, almost 200 utilities have been recognized with the honor.

The Utility of the Future activity areas focus on:

  • recovery and new uses of a range of resources;
  • engagement as a leader in the full water cycle and broader social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the community;
  • engagement in the community and formation of partnerships necessary for success when operating outside of the traditional span of the utility; and
  • transformation of the internal utility culture in support of these innovations.

Public and private water sector utilities of all sizes that can demonstrate achievement of the application requirements are encouraged to apply by May 20 at 11:59 PM ET. Applicants must have no major permit violations in the year prior to the submission date of their applications.


Honorees will be notified during the summer and formally recognized during an awards ceremony at WEFTEC 2022 this October in New Orleans.

Since the Utility of the Future concept was introduced in 2013, many utilities have successfully implemented new and creative programs to address local wastewater technical and community challenges. The recognition program was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and the WateReuse Association. In addition, the program is supported by advisory partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).