The Water Research Foundation Honors Outstanding Water Leaders

Jun 21, 2023
Press Release

(Denver, CO) 6/21/23 - The Water Research Foundation (WRF) announced last week that it awarded its 2023 Subscriber Impact Award to Denver Water and its 2023 Research Innovation Award to Dr. Amy Pruden. These annual awards were presented at WRF’s subscriber appreciation event at the American Water Works Association’s conference, ACE.

WRF’s Subscriber Impact Award honors subscribing utilities that have made notable improvements to their treatment, delivery, and/or management processes through the successful application of WRF research. The Research Innovation Award recognizes researchers who have made significant contributions to advancing the science of water through research sponsored by WRF. The award is presented in honor of Dr. Pankaj Parekh, who dedicated his life to ensuring safe drinking water and protecting public health.

“WRF could not accomplish our work without extraordinary utilities and researchers like those honored today,” said Peter Grevatt, Chief Executive Officer of WRF. “Denver Water and Dr. Pruden have been instrumental in advancing research and innovation within the water sector. We are grateful for all they do to bring water research to life.”

Established in 1918, Denver Water is the oldest and largest drinking water utility in the state of Colorado, serving an area of about 335 square miles and over 1.5 million people. Denver Water has been involved in over 65 WRF projects, and Denver Water staff members have served on WRF’s Board of Directors and a variety of WRF committees. Denver Water is currently participating in 11 WRF projects, addressing topics such as innovation, the water workforce, constituents of emerging concern, flood mitigation planning, and more.

“It’s an honor for Denver Water to receive the Subscriber Impact Award, as it truly represents the visionary approach our hard-working employees take to advancing our industry every single day,” said Jim Lochhead, Chief Executive Officer/Manager of Denver Water. “Water utilities are at the forefront of many critical issues, like dealing with the impacts of climate change, increasing regulations and aging infrastructure—all while maintaining our critical mission of sustaining the vibrant communities we serve. The only way we’ll be successful is to continue improving and innovating and then—through organizations like The Water Research Foundation—collaborating and evolving together as an industry to prepare our communities for a secure and safe water future.”

Amy Pruden, PhD, is a W. Thomas Rice Professor and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Pruden has dedicated her career to using next-generation DNA sequencing-based tools to ensure that multiple barriers are effective for the removal of pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes, revolutionizing how the water sector addresses complex microbiological challenges. She has advanced pathogen research from conceptual to practical while actively engaging underserved communities. Dr. Pruden has led five WRF research projects as Principal Investigator, and has served on Project Advisory Committees for seven WRF projects.

"Being recognized with the Research Innovation Award is an honor that I could have never imagined when I first embarked into the water profession,” said Dr. Pruden. “It serves as a reminder to me of just how much remains to be done to secure a safe and ample water supply for future generations, but also as a source of encouragement to myself, and I hope to others, to continue doing the work that needs to be done to advance and implement effective solutions to meet this imperative."

These award recipients embody WRF’s commitment to collaboration in advancing the science of water to ensure healthy, resilient communities and a sustainable global environment.

For additional information about these awards and past award winners, please visit the Subscriber Impact Award and the Research Innovation Award webpages.