Leadership in Water Conservation Award

The Water Conservation Leadership Award is presented by the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office and recognizes an individual, business, group, or other organization that has demonstrated a commitment to protecting our water resources through water conservation. Nominations for the 2019 Water Conservation Awards have closed.

Michael Brugger with AwardThe 2018 Individual Leadership in Water Conservation Award is Michael Brugger. Conservation is an everyday lifestyle for Michael Brugger. He believes individual responsibility is a good start to conserving water on a larger scale. Mr. Brugger uses his water resources wisely both inside and outside his home. He limits showers to 5 minutes - and leaves polite notes to houseguests to honor Mother Earth and take shorter showers, too. Mr. Brugger only runs his dishwasher and washing machine when full and fills a basin to rinse dishes rather than running water. When leaving on vacation, he shuts off the water to prevent any drips or leaks. He uses rain barrels and mulches all his plants to reduce the need to water. If there’s a lack of rain, Michael collects water while showering for use in his yard and garden.

The 2018Kurt Kosloske with Award Business Leadership in Water Conservation Award is The Classic Center. As part of an energy performance contract, The Classic Center completed a significant water conservation project in 2018. The retrofit project included modifying restroom faucets, sinks, toilets, urinals, showers, ice machines, and chillers to higher conservation standards. Through this activity, The Classic Center expects to reduce their water use by 1.1 million gallons each year. The project is an excellent model for how to conserve resources in large public facilities.

The 2017 Leader in Water Conservation is Hilsman Middle School teacher, Audrey HughesAudrey HughesIn addition to teaching science full-time to 7th graders, this superstar is a sponsor of the Green Team, 7th Grade 4-H Club, and the Science & Energy Team. In 2017, she organized the annual Hilsmans Science Night, which brings together Athens organizations to educate over 250 attendees on how to reduce water & energy use. She arranges for the Water Conservation Office to bring Jack Golden, an edutainer, to the entire 6th grade class for a water related presentation. This conservation crusader is the most reliable and dependable resource the Athens Water Festival has. As she has done in years prior, she put her 2017 Science & Energy team into action as volunteers for the 800 people in attendance at the festival. She passes on her devotion to conservation and sustainability to the next generation, which is the best gift she can give to the planet for Earth Day. Thank you Audrey Hughes.

Outback Steakhouse is the winner of the 2016 Leadership in Water Conservation Award. Outback Steakhouse was one of the first businesses to participate in Athens’ Certified Blue Program for restaurants and it went above and beyond the requirements of the program.  They demonstrated their commitment to conservation by making significant changes in operations and equipment in their kitchen.  For example they invested in efficient drip wells, they no longer use water to thaw frozen food, and they installed foot pedals under frequently used sinks.  Since joining the Certified Blue Program and investing in water saving strategies, their water use has declined by about 27% , which comes out to more than 1,000 gallons a day.  

About 65,000 people work in Athens.  By targeting employees and customers of businesses, Certified Blue broadens the audience of the Water Conservation and increases contact time with residents.  These individuals will be encouraged to conserve while they work and shop, and they may take that message home with them if it is reinforced throughout the day. In addition to helping with outreach and education, all of Athens’ Certified Blue Restaurants undergo a water use assessment, retrofit water-wasting fixtures, and fix leaks.

Congratulations to Jim and Sandy Whitney, winners of the 2015 Leadership in Water Conservation Award! 

Jim and Sandy Whitney have been leaders in Water Conservation for many years. They made water conservation a priority by retrofitting their home with low-flow fixtures and having a plumber check for and repair leaks. The Whitneys have a strict policy to only run the washing machine and dishwasher when they are completely full.

While waiting for water to heat up in the shower, the Whitneys collect the cold water to prevent unnecessary waste. They use the collected cold water to flush their toilets, thus saving many gallons of water.

Conservation is practiced outside in their yard as well. The yard has been landscaped such that it does not require watering. Trees have been placed strategically to reduce heating and cooling costs and demand on resources. The backyard is terraced to help manage storm-water runoff.

Join us in commending the Whitneys for their excellent work as Leaders in Water Conservation in Athens-Clarke County!

Jim and Sandy Whitney


Congratulations to Pilgrim's, winner of the 2014 Leadership in Water Conservation Award!

 Many of our industries in Athens made permanent changes to their processes in response to the water shortage from the drought in 2007 and 2008. Pilgrim's industrial facility stands out as a leader among them. Pilgrim's is the largest single water user in Athens. In fact, they account for about 8% of our total water use. So any changes they make to improve water-efficiency saves a lot of water. Their efforts have made a significant impact on our water demands, making our community more resilient to drought and other stressors on our water supply.

Congratulations, Pilgrim's, and thank you for being a wise water user!

Past Winners

2013 - Hotel Indigo
2012 - Clarke County School District - Fowler Drive Elementary School Renovations
and the Gilles Allard Family

2011 - the Benson Hospitality Group
and Merial ltd.