Accelerating Solutions to our Water Challenges

We can’t expect much water infrastructure investment from Washington, D.C., yet we still must find solutions. This was the emerging consensus of the American Water Summit, which started yesterday and assembled American water industry leaders to talk about practical solutions to the country’s water woes.

It’s well known that America’s water infrastructure is aging and in need of investment. According to a widely publicized study by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the quality of the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure ranks a “D.” The Summit speakers provided various solutions to this problem, illustrating ways to accelerate change and keep American water infrastructure competitive for the 21st century.

You can read more about the Summit here, and you can find short video clips of selected speakers below:

  • John Dickert, Mayor, City of Racine
  • Sue Hann, City Manager, City of Palm Bay
  • Karen Pallansch, CEO, Alexandria Renew Enterprises
  • Jeff Murphy, Managing Director Infrastructure Investments, Ullico
  • Lisa Downes, North America Regional Initiative Coordinator, Alliance for Water Stewardship

Topics included:

  1. The economics of sustainable water: Leaders from both the public and private sectors discussed how sustainable water management is linked to sustainable economic growth and long-term community stability.
  2. What does business want from water: How the effective management of water and related risks affects the operations, decision making and future planning of a diverse range of businesses, such as Coca-Cola, Dow and Duke Energy.
  3. Delivering performance: A discussion of the current strategies water and wastewater utilities deploy in order to improve both short- and long-term operational performance here in the U.S. and internationally.

In a live vote by attendees at the end of last night, the South Florida Water Management District won the 2013 Growing Blue Award for its work protecting the Everglades and serving Florida’s residents. The South Florida Water Management District’s ALT4R plan, developed in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is slated to beneficially affect more than 1.5 million acres in the Florida Everglades.

We’ve arrived at a critical juncture when it comes to decision-making about the future of our country’s water infrastructure. The speakers at the American Water Summit serve on the front line of the industry’s response. Their creative and inspired discussion revealed that it’s an exciting time to work in the water industry to solve these problems.