Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award

The 2020 OSAW Award Cycle is Closed

Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) honors deserving organizations in the hydropower and marine energy industry for projects that exhibit exemplary operational, educational, historical, recreational, or environmental enhancement and stewardship.

Hydropower’s proven track record of providing a domestic source of clean, renewable, and reliable electricity for more than 125 years is no accident. It has taken hard work, perseverance, creativity, innovation, and a collaborative spirit. Today, these same values are also driving a new generation of hydropower projects that harness the power of oceans, tides, man-made conduits and other waterways, in addition to rivers.

How the OSAW Process Works

OSAW Timeline

  • Applications are due by March 1, 2020
  • Winners will be notified in March 2020.
  • The award ceremony will take place May 19-21, 2020 during the 2020 Waterpower Week in Washington, in Washington, D.C .


  • Specific projects, programs, activities or events pertaining to hydropower in the United States or Canada that meet the three category criteria.
  • An application for a specific accomplishment may be submitted in only one category; however, an applicant may submit applications for multiple different accomplishments.
  • An accomplishment, or the intended effect or result of an accomplishment, must have occurred or have been substantially realized in 2019.


Up to three awards will be presented for each of the three categories:

  • Operational Excellence
  • Public Education
  • Recreational, Historical, & Environmental Enhancement

Judging Criteria

  • Challenge (30%)
  • Innovation (30%)
  • Results (30%)
  • WOW Factor (10%)

Download OSAW guide for more information on eligibility, categories, and helpful hints when applying:


OSAW’s History

In 1994, the National Hydropower Association (NHA) created the Hydro Achievement Awards to recognize organizations and projects committed to excellence in the development and operation of hydropower. In 1999, NHA added the Outstanding Stewardship of America’s Rivers (OSAR) Report to profile the best examples of hydropower’s ability to generate clean, renewable, reliable and affordable electricity while protecting the riverine ecosystem.

Beginning in 2007, these two recognition programs were merged to more effectively provide recognition to deserving organizations and to reflect the changing nature of the hydropower industry, particularly the fact that hydropower can be used in various waterways. The new award program is called the Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW).

Learn about Previous OSAW Winners: