Continuous Improvement and Use of Best Practices

The Milwaukee Water Works has adopted a strategy to operate as efficiently as possible and hold down operational costs.

As water use declines, the Milwaukee Water Works has focused on reducing costs and making operational efficiencies. The strategy results in savings in energy, chemicals, manpower, and other costs to maintain low and reasonable water rates. Part of this strategy is the practice of supply-side conservation. The utility saved over one billion gallons of water from 2006 to 2012 through operational changes in treating and distributing water, flushing mains and hydrants. It would take decades of conservation by utility customers to equal this amount of water savings.

•    A complete reorganization and downsizing in 2003 set the pace and remains in place.
•    Non-critical positions that open through employee retirement or resignation are not filled.
•    The utility eliminated 71 fulltime positions from 2000-2009, a 17% reduction in its fulltime workforce. This resulted in savings of $5.7 million.
•    Non-essential overtime was eliminated.
•    MWW uses new technology and automation to improve efficiency.
•    Savings are being achieved in energy, fuel, and water use.

The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies recognized the Milwaukee Water Works with a Gold Award for Competitiveness Achievement for applying best management practices to meet the public's requirement for safe water and low-cost service.

The Milwaukee Water Works has been recognized by the EPA for interagency relationships with local, state, and national health and environmental agencies for their program of enteric disease surveillance and response.

Through participation in projects and research and technology contributions to the American Water Works Association, the Water Research Foundation, and the Wisconsin Water Association, Milwaukee joins other utilities using best practices in the industry.