Three cities are among recipients of the 2012 U.S. Water Prize from the Clean Water America Alliance. Milwaukee, Philadelphia and San Francisco were recognized in the second annual awards as “models toward water sustainability.”

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District was honored for its pilot project to collaborate on watershed planning between the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers in Southwestern Wisconsin. The project coordinates stormwater discharges across 411 square miles, extending “to the natural boundaries of watersheds rather than being confined to political jurisdictions or industries,” according to the Alliance. The effort includes state and federal regulators, non-governmental organizations and local governments.

The Philadelphia Water Department got the nod for its “Green City, Clean Waters” program. The city has embarked on a $2.4 billion project to “green” more than 34 percent of the combined sewer area’s impervious cover in the next 25 years. The Alliance praised the project as “a national model for sustaining urban watersheds and uniting citizens and businesses.”

In San Francisco, the Public Utilities Commission “is taking to heart the ‘one water’ management theme,” according to the Alliance. The utility commission coordinates efforts to reduce urban stormwater problems and build public support for infrastructure projects, including a $5 billion sewer system improvement program. The utility employs a combination of regulatory and nonregulatory incentives, public education and workshops.

The remaining recipients of the Water Prize were Pepsico Frito-Lay for water conservation efforts at its plants, the Project WET Foundation for work in educating people about water sustainability and the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative for efforts to reduce downstream pollution in Maine and New Hampshire.