When it comes to improving water quality and conservation, one topic drives more interest and engagement than almost anything else: building partnerships between water providers and the agricultural sector. Agriculture is a crucial keystone of our society, but is also one of the greatest contributors to water pollution. Agriculture and land management present the best opportunities to protect water quality, preserve ecosystems, and safeguard our drinking water supplies. By developing and implementing best practices that balance conservation with productivity, we can greatly improve the quality of our surface and groundwater resources. Join us for part two of a seven-part series diving into each of the Seven Big Ideas in the One Water for America Policy Framework.
Mark Jockers, Government and Public Affairs Manager, Clean Water Services
Steve Hershner, Utilities Director, Cedar Rapids
Kristi Heffelmeier, Farmer in the Middle Cedar Watershed
Jason Gomes, Watershed Agronomy Consultant
Capital needs are growing all the time to meet the challenges of water system development and renewal, regulatory compliance, lead service line removal, and climate change adaptation. Those needs are compounded by the rising costs of day-to-day utility operations. Over the last 40 years, the federal government has reduced its share of capital spending on water infrastructure from 63 percent to just nine percent. A resurgence in federal funding for water is unlikely, so our focus must be on fully representing the cost of water management, improving the cost-effectiveness of water services, and continuing to educate the public on our infrastructure needs. Join us for part three of a seven-part series diving into each of the Seven Big Ideas in the One Water for America Policy Framework.
Public-private partnerships have been in practice for generations. For years, many publicly-owned utilities have worked with private companies on planning, design, project delivery, operations, maintenance, and management. In addition, private water utilities account for about 15 percent of the US water market. But public-private partnerships can be a mystery to the unfamiliar, and greater understanding is needed on how best to blend public and private resources for positive outcomes. While private expertise and investment can hold promise, each community is unique, and partnership decisions must be made locally. For the nation to attract more investment and innovation to water management, we need to address barriers to putting private money and expertise to work, while making sure that communities’ needs are met and all partners benefit. Join us for part four of a seven-part series diving into each of the Seven Big Ideas in the One Water for America Policy Framework.
Utilities across the country grapple with affordability concerns for their customers. The heart of the issue is ensuring that everyone has access to affordable water and sewer service, while also generating sufficient utility revenues to cover rising costs, deal with our aging infrastructure, and protect public health. While water service is generally affordable for most Americans, the lowest 20 percent of earners pay almost one-fifth of their monthly household income for water. Utilities in rural areas and cities with declining populations struggle to keep water affordable, while funding infrastructure needs to protect public health and comply with regulations. Water rates need to reflect the needs of the entire community, from the utility to the customer. Join us for part five of a seven-part series diving into each of the Seven Big Ideas in the One Water for America Policy Framework.
Water utilities are responsible for providing safe drinking water by treating water to regulatory standards, and by maintaining safe water quality through the distribution system. Water utilities do not control the quality of plumbing systems within individual property lines. But using their expertise, water utilities can be leaders to find solutions to their community’s lead problems, motivated by the imperative of public health protection. If we are committed to providing safe drinking water, we must reach across silos to generate community-wide solutions that engage healthcare systems, school systems, city departments, state agencies, and community groups. Join us for part six of a seven-part series diving into each of the Seven Big Ideas in the One Water for America Policy Framework.
The water industry is historically slower to adapt to technological innovation due to the innate risks of changing processes that affect public health. However, solving some of our most pressing water challenges requires investing in, developing, and deploying new technologies and processes that can transform water management. For example, wastewater, whether from industrial or municipal sources, can be converted into valuable resource streams. Sensors and satellites can provide precision data on water quality, water quantity, and infrastructure condition to facilitate decision making. Establishing a more enabling policy and regulatory environment is essential for innovation to flourish in the water industry. Join us for the final installment of a seven-part series diving into each of the Seven Big Ideas in the One Water for America Policy Framework.
From July 10-12, 2018, leaders from across the country will gather at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis for a thought-provoking and action-oriented national summit on what it will take to secure a sustainable water future for all. This year we will focus on important, solutions-focused conversations about how we value and manage water to foster economic prosperity, community well-being, and environmental sustainability. Thank you to our 2018 host, Metropolitan Council, for inviting us to your One Water city.