The nation’s brightest minds and most committed leaders will come together at the One Water Summit 2017 to
discuss our most pressing water challenges and most promising solutions.
Workshop sessions dive into a wide range of One Water issues, models, and approaches, allowing summit participants to focus on a particular topic of interest and explore connections across issues and disciplines.
STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING RESILIENT WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
With increased water stresses impacting communities—from drought, to flooding, and related extreme weather events—there is increased attention to making communities and their water infrastructure more resilient, ready to adapt, and incorporating proactive hazard and flood mitigation measures. Resilient and reliable infrastructure is able to respond and bounce back from natural disasters, it builds in redundancies, and vulnerabilities are minimized to the greatest extent possible. Utilities have been preparing to make these investments for infrastructure resilience but it is not without cost. Hear from city and water utility leaders about their plans, progress, and how they were able to make the case of taking the long-view and prioritizing resilient water infrastructure.
THE MATURATION OF MULTI-BENEFIT GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGIES
Green infrastructure is a cost-effective strategy to reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and strengthen neighborhoods. The water sector has seen a maturation of green infrastructure implementation, with a robust set of stakeholders from utilities, community organizations, conservation groups, philanthropy, and others engaged in innovative projects. This session will spotlight citywide plans, creative financing, programmatic approaches, and the role of networks to accelerate the adoption of this effective One Water strategy. During this session, leaders will share their insights on best practices, policy barriers, and opportunities to further leverage green infrastructure strategies.
WATER REUSE: MAXIMIZING BENEFITS, REDUCING UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
Diverse water reuse strategies are taking root and gaining traction, allowing municipalities to stretch precious water supplies and reduce their footprints. Improved treatment technologies, refined monitoring techniques, and more are allowing utilities to further refine reuse strategies to maximize benefits. Gaining experience with implementation and deployment, leading utilities have been able to reduce externalities to water conservation and reuse such as strain on existing infrastructure and financial considerations. This session will feature leaders in water reuse and the most valuable lessons they have learned along the way as they expand their programs and set ambitious goals.
ONE WATER PLANNING: HOW TO MAKE IT THE NEW NORM
Managing across water’s lifecycle to maximize benefits and efficiencies is no easy feat. But it’s essential. Watersheds do not adhere to political boundaries, and lasting solutions require designing integrated one water planning processes that can leverage resources, unlock new sources of capital, diversify and stretch a community’s water supplies, and achieve water quality and environmental improvements. This panel will feature three diverse regions and the silo-busting leadership that is forging new approaches to one water planning, both within the water sector and beyond.
ONE WATER: COMMUNICATING ITS VALUE
Strains on water resources, and compromised water quality have increased the appetite for One Water management. The environment is riper today than ever before for accepting more integrated approaches. emerging technologies, such as treating wastewater for direct potable use. This increased interest in One Water means opportunities for charting new territory with diverse water stakeholders. To advance One Water projects and policies, support from the public, policymakers, and a wide range of stakeholders is vital. How can we communicate in a way that builds political will? How can we make the case for sustainable approaches to water management that enlists key partners and effectively persuades key constituencies? One Water communicators and leaders will share their perspectives on how best to persuade, inspire, and engage others in a vision of managing water that goes beyond traditional jurisdictions.
ONE WATER COALITIONS THAT WIN
Central to the long-term preservation of water systems is the protection of our watersheds. At the watershed level, we deal with crucial issues including: management of developed lands, conservation of natural lands, controlling water withdrawals, and managing point and nonpoint discharges. None of those critical tasks can be managed by one organization alone. For One Water management to be effective, it must unite stakeholders around a common vision and approach, and be prepared to launch a coalition that can overcome legislative, regulatory, and public perception hurdles. Successful One Water champions will share their lessons learned on garnering meaningful engagement and enthusiasm from the unlikeliest of allies, as well as campaign strategies and tactics that won over skeptics.
WATER = COMPETITIVE BUSINESSES AND THRIVING INDUSTRY
Achieving a secure One Water future would not be possible without direct business involvement. And, water is essential for all industries to thrive. Water challenges—whether it’s too much, too little, or poor quality—threaten business growth, impact bottom lines, and create direct operational risks. There is a business imperative for companies to adopt One Water practices both within their operations as well as in their engagement in the broader communities and watersheds in which they do business. This session will forward looking businesses from diverse industry sectors who are taking a more comprehensive approach to water sustainability—thinking and acting across their supply chains and within the watersheds in which they operate and source.
THE AMBIDEXTROUS UTILITY
Organizational ambidexterity is the ability of an organization to be aligned and efficient in its management of today's business demands while simultaneously adapting and preparing for future opportunities in their market space. This is a time of incredible creativity in the water industry, as utilities and other water leaders are defining new business models without compromising the quality service they are expected to deliver each and every day. By pursuing new business lines to generate review, providing high value products at the end of their business cycle, reengineering their operational practices, utilities of all sizes are realizing increased revenue AND decreased costs—all while improving water quality in their watershed and increasing customer satisfaction. This session will explore how dynamic utilities have become ambidextrous—highlighting key issues related to financing, partnerships, risk and profit sharing, as well as project design, delivery, and maintenance.
STRENGTHENING SMALLER WATER SYSTEMS
Small water systems, which serve about 3,000 customers or less, represent nearly 85 percent of the approximately 54,000 community drinking water systems nationwide. While they serve less than 10 percent of the population, they face an outsized share of America’s water resource and infrastructure challenges, including protecting water quality, making needed infrastructure investments, diversifying their local water supplies—all with the goal of delivering an essential service to their customers. About 30 percent of small systems have operating expenses greater than their revenues and many are not financially sustainable. The dialogue will bring together small system leaders from operators to funders to discuss the opportunities and options for stability, growth, and innovation.
A WATER SAFETY NET: ENSURING ACCESS & AFFORDABILITY FOR ALL
Across the US, vulnerable communities struggle to access safe, clean, and affordable water services. In some regions, contaminants make drinking water unsafe, or drought limits water supply. In others, centralized wastewater systems don’t not reach rural areas, leaving lower-income people to fund their own septic systems. Aging infrastructure, lack of centralized infrastructure, compromised water quality, climate impacts, inability to pay, and other factors impact vulnerable communities. Providing all Americans with safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater service is essential to our wellbeing as a nation, and all stakeholders—policymakers, utilities, non-profits, foundations—have a role to play. This session will discuss water access and affordability challenges in the United States, and present potential solutions for creating a safety net for all.
LEVERAGING WATER INVESTMENT TO CREATE WORKFORCE OPPORTUNITY
The water sector is facing a workforce crisis: up to 50 percent of utility employees will reach retirement by 2020, and there is a shortage of skilled workers to take their place. At the same time, lower-income people, communities of color, and dislocated workers are struggling to access quality employment with career pathways. Tremendous opportunity exists as the water sector spends billions of dollars repairing and upgrading aging infrastructure. These investments can be maximized to create local employment and career pathways, opportunities for small business, and educational programs. Water is a promising economic growth strategy, and investments in infrastructure are proven to create solid, middle-class jobs that provide a pathway out of poverty. This session will spotlight promising workforce strategies with an emphasis on the power of partnerships between utilities, institutions of higher education, nonprofits, and philanthropy to achieve of win-win of workforce inclusion and trained workers ready to serve the water industry.
ELEVATING WATER AS A NATIONAL PRIORITY
Polling suggests that a strong majority of Americans think investing in water infrastructure is very important for government, yet federal funding has declined significantly even as our nation’s pipes and treatment plants continue to age. As the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration work towards advancing a proposal to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, how do we ensure that investment in water and wastewater systems is a central component? Hear from a panel of key decision-makers and influencers at all levels of government on the current political landscape and prognosis for water infrastructure as a high priority for investment.
BUILDING THE WATER ECONOMY
How is the new water economy taking shape in regions across the country? How can we utilize water assets to drive economic competitiveness and growth? What are the successful economic development initiatives being advanced that use water innovation and investment as a linchpin strategy? This session will feature regional approaches to leveraging water assets to fuel economic growth, with a particular focus on efforts to grow and expand entrepreneurship and small business development in the water sector.
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