Envisioning the future water utility

Posted January 2006


by Garrett P. Westerhoff, Hy Pomerance, and David Sklar


Included in the November 2005 edition of the AWWA Journal, “Envisioning the future water utility” presents the findings of a Malcolm Pirnie Inc. 2004 national survey of 71 water utility industry experts, regarding their views on the future issues facing U.S. utilities. (While the survey was conducted in the U.S., many of the findings reflect the current and potential future states of the water industry in Canada.)


The survey challenged respondents to predict the future and outline how utilities can best prepare themselves for upcoming issues. According to respondents, effective leadership and management are key to the success of the U.S. utility industry. Respondents also suggested that leadership and management would be very different in the years ahead. The effective leader of the future will provide emotional direction—driving effective interpersonal relationships at all levels, strategic thinking—driving development of vision and planning and operational excellence, and business and technical leadership—driving complex financial and environmental decision-making. Key to this type of leadership in the future are succession planning, strategic planning, and asset management plan implementation today.


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