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Airport Authority and Metropolitan Water District Receive Prestigious Environmental Awards

  |   Smart Cities San Diego, Water

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) recognized two Cleantech San Diego members with a 2015 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), considered one of California’s highest environmental honors.


The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority earned the award in the “Waste Reduction” category, which honors “exemplary achievements in conserving and protecting natural resources and reducing costs by incorporating efforts such as waste prevention, reuse, recycling, composting, environmentally-preferable purchasing, and product design and stewardship,” according to CalEPA. The award specifically recognized San Diego International Airport’s food waste collection program, Air Conditioning condensate water recovery and recycling initiative, and the airport’s Environmentally Preferred Product purchasing program.


“Finding innovative ways to operate San Diego International Airport in a sustainable and efficient way is truly at the heart of our business,” said Thella F. Bowens, the Airport Authority’s President and CEO.  “We’re incredibly honored to receive this recognition and to join others throughout California in planning for the future in an environmentally conscious manner.”


The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California earned the award in the “Environmental Education” category, which honors “Unique and exemplary educational programs that raise awareness of, and involvement in, environmental issues.” 


Launched as classroom units for fourth- and fifth graders in 1983, Metropolitan’s education program has evolved to include curriculum that meets state Common Core and Next Generation Science standards for all grade levels, teacher workshops, and field trips as well as other innovative ways of using technology to reach young learners. Among the more inventive approaches is Metropolitan’s Solar Cup™ program, which provides months of intense, hands-on learning about water conservation, solar-energy, engineering and teamwork, culminating in the nation’s largest solar boat competition over three days each spring. About 10,000 students have participated in Solar Cup since the inaugural event launched in 2002 with just eight boats. more. . . . . -2- Along with Solar Cup, Metropolitan is a co-sponsor of the World Water Forum, an 18- month competitive grant program for students and professors from community colleges and universities throughout the Southland, aimed at addressing regional and global water issues. In addition, the district offers the Diamond Valley Lake Education Program, which provides instruction to students in grades 4-7, and the “Water is Life” Student Art and Calendar Program. 


“We’re extremely proud to be honored by the state as an environmental leader,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said of Metropolitan’s first GEELA award. “Within our six-county service area are 5 million students and teachers—each of whom has a vital stake in learning about water and how to manage, protect and conserve it. “Our education programs not only promote environmental discovery, they are representative of Metropolitan’s overall commitment to balancing environmental protection and keeping California’s economy strong with innovative water management.”


The Airport Authority and the Metropolitan Water District were two of 12 award recipients honored during a special reception on January 19.


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