United Water, one of the largest water services providers in the nation and a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, received the Partnership Performance of the Year award at the 2012 American Water Summit in Chicago for offering cities a new way to meet the challenge of upgrading water and wastewater systems through its new “Solution: Investing in America’s Water” offering. ‘Solution’ brings together United Water’s technology and management expertise with new long-term private equity investment.
The City of Bayonne, NJ, is the first to put United Water’s ‘Solution’ into practice. United Water, along with private equity partner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), have a 40-year contract to operate and improve the city’s water system with investments totaling more than $100 million. Technologies such as wireless metering will help improve the system’s efficiency, prioritize pipe replacement and reduce water loss through leakage. KKR will also retire $130 million in Bayonne Municipal Utility Authority debt, freeing the City to give greater support to other services such as fire departments and schools.
Attendees at the Summit, a major national gathering of municipal and industry leaders, voted to recognize United Water at the first annual American Water Awards at the American Water Summit: Business Models for the Future, organized by industry publication American Water Intelligence.
“We are honored to receive this award and believe it is a testament to the value of our innovative approach to addressing America’s water challenge,” said Bertrand Camus, Chief Executive Officer. “What’s different is that our ‘Solution’ offers municipalities a complete solution – combining United Water’s innovative technical solutions and management expertise to improve quality and system efficiency along with the necessary capital investment,” Camus said.
“American municipalities are struggling in a tough economy, the country’s water infrastructure is aging and quality is suffering. Our ‘Solution’ offers cities help they need to make the necessary long-term investment and improvements to strengthen America’s water infrastructure system," Camus said.
United Water’s ‘Solution’ upgrades and operates water systems more efficiently, helping cities improve water quality and meet increasing environmental and water quality standards and attracts new long-term capital from private equity partners. These investments are used specifically to upgrade water systems. They also help ease pressure on municipal balance sheets, freeing cities to invest in other public services. Under this innovative contractual approach, municipalities maintain ownership and control of the water or wastewater system and of rates charged to users. Sustained and predictable investment in water will create new infrastructure-related jobs and spur growth in local economies.
In September, United Water’s ‘Solution’ was highlighted as a Featured Commitment at The Clinton Global Initiative for being an innovative way to address cities’ water infrastructure needs.
The American Society of Civil Engineers grades the country’s water system a “D”. The America Water Works Association says it will take more than $1 trillion over the coming two decades to bring pipes and treatment facilities nationwide back to standard. With the continued growth in demand for water alongside competing needs for other municipal services – from roads to law enforcement to schools – cities’ finances have stretched beyond their limits. This, coupled with dwindling federal support for cities, has led to a decades-long decline in the nation’s water infrastructure.
About United Water
United Water is one of the nation’s leading environmental companies, providing water and wastewater services to approximately 5.7 million people in the United States. In addition to owning and operating 20 water utilities, the company operates 100 municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems through innovative public-private partnerships and contract agreements. Founded in 1869, United Water is a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT.
About SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT
Natural resources are not infinite. Each day, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT (Paris: SEV, Brussels: SEVB) and its subsidiaries deal with the challenge of protecting resources by providing innovative solutions to industries and to millions of people. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT supplies drinking water to 91 million people, provides wastewater treatment services for 63 million people and collects the waste produced by close to 57 million people. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has 80,410 employees and, with its presence on a global scale, is a world leader exclusively dedicated to environmental services. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, a 35.7% GDF SUEZ affiliate, achieved revenue of 14.8 billion Euros ($19.6 billion USD) at the end of financial year 2011.