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NEW Water’s leadership works to communicate effectively with its employees. Quarterly employee 
briefings are held to communicate topics of interest to employees in a timely manner. NEW Water has a 
monthly employee newsletter called the Metroflow, which provides updates on projects, employee 
social events, and community events. 

NEW Water worked with its Commission, staff, and customers in 2015 to develop an updated strategic 
plan that was adopted in early 2016. The plan supports a new vision for the utility, “Protecting our most 
valuable resource, water”, and developed a strategic investment portfolio for the next five years 
focused on: Operational Resiliency and Optimization, Regional Water Quality Improvements, and 
Resource Recovery. The plan has specific implementation actions, schedules and measures for each 
action. 

COMMUNITY PARTNERING AND ENGAGEMENT 

NEW Water realized it needed to better engage its customers and other stakeholders and raise the 
profile of water related issues as it embarked on significant capital improvement projects, working out in 
the watershed, resource recovery, and system optimization. NEW Water was also aware that partnering 
with organizations that the stakeholders knew and trusted would be the quickest and most effective 
way to successfully reach those groups. 

Through effective outreach efforts, NEW Water has become a trusted source of water environment 
information for local and regional, print, social, and television media, and NEW Water’s opinion is 
sought out when the groups are developing stories on environmental issues. NEW Water provides 
information of interest to residential customers by providing the municipalities with finished products in 
a manner that can be easily disseminated. 

In addition to tours of our facilities for schools, the public, and elected officials, NEW Water goes out to 
organizations and delivers its message as well as working with watershed stakeholders interested in 
improving storm water quality on urban and rural lands. NEW Water has seen a significant improvement 
in relationships with its customers, as well as partnership opportunities with previously non-traditional 
stakeholders. 

WATERSHED STEWARDSHIP 

NEW Water identified several years ago that spending over $220 million to upgrade its two treatment 
facilities to remove incremental amounts of phosphorus from its effluent was an inefficient use of 
limited customer resources. NEW Water helped develop enabling legislation to allow direct dischargers 
use of an alternative compliance method called Adaptive Management where point sources work with 
nonpoint sources (urban or rural storm water) to achieve equal or greater reduction of phosphorus in 
the watershed, presumably at a lower cost than improvements at the treatment facilities. 

NEW Water has been working for the last two years on a pilot scale (4,800 acre) Adaptive Management 
project to see if it can administer this complex process with several hundred stakeholders and cost-
effectively affect positive water quality and habitat improvements through improvements in land use 
and cropping practices. This work is being done at a pilot scale because by late 2018 NEW Water must 
decide if it wants to continue this initiative at a larger watershed scale for the next 20 years, or if it 
wants to construct phosphorus removal facilities at its treatment facilities.