We were proud to welcome 16 regional delegations from across the country to One Water Summit 2016. Our delegations are champions for a sustainable water future and are dedicated to peer exchange, knowledge building, and implementing what they learned at the summit back in their home regions or communities of practice. Many of our delegations made commitments to action during the summit, which you can read more about below.
If you are interested in forming a delegation for 2017, please contact Fiona Murray at email@example.com.
American Planning Association, Georgia Chapter
The Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) delega- tion brings together urban and regional planners who are dedicated to planning approaches that advance sustainable water management. The organization is an advocate for good planning and a respected source of training and information. Through conferences, events, partnerships, the Community Planning Institute, and other initiatives, the APA provides important resources to communities in Georgia. With nearly 38,000 members, APA produces resources that planners use to make safer, greener, healthier, and more sustainable communities. Advocacy and communications training and participation in the Planners’ Advocacy Network equip members to speak up effectively for planning. Planners from all over the world gather at APA’s National Planning Conference for high-quality professional education and networking. We reach out, inform, engage, and deliver education and benefits to APA members with new technologies and on multiple platforms.
Commitment to Action: The American Planning Association (APA) is building a comprehensive approach to enhance the ability of urban planners to engage around water issues. APA is broadening support and tools available to planners who are fostering more integrated and sustainable water management approaches in their communities. Through its Water Working Group, APA is focused on building a Water and Planning network that better connects planners and urban designers with utility professionals and water resource managers, developing best practice information on water and planning, and creating educational programming on water as it relates to planners, to help advance One Water solutions in our communities.
The City of Atlanta One Water Delegation includes representatives from the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors, highlighting their collective work in making the city a model for sustainable and innovative water management. With leadership from the Department of Watershed Management and expanding collaborations between the City, federal agencies, non-profits, and community groups, the City is advancing sustainable approaches to managing stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water, while improving the resiliency of critical watersheds and the neighborhoods affected by them. Since Atlanta’s inclusion as a ‘Spotlight City’ at the 2013 One Water Summit, Atlanta has continued to under- take innovative projects, including a major water supply program, initiatives associated with the Urban Waters Federal Partnership in the Proctor Creek Watershed, and a strategic action plan to scale up our established green infrastructure program. At One Water Summit 2016, the delegation will highlight the adoption of the City’s first Green Infrastructure Strategic Action Plan and the recent commitment of additional resources to expand green infrastructure projects.
Commitment to Action: The City of Atlanta is proud to join the US Water Alliance in a commitment to expand and scale its current green infrastructure program to improve the resiliency of Atlanta's critical watersheds and the neighborhoods affected by them. Atlanta’s recently adopted Green Infrastructure Strategic Action Plan creates overarching goals for stormwater capture through green infrastructure. Atlanta's Green Infrastructure Task Force will use the plan to implement projects across multiple City departments, integrate this approach into current and future policy, planning and funding, expand community partnerships and outreach, and perform data tracking and technical analysis to measure and improve the City’s growing green infrastructure network. Over the next year the Department of Watershed Management will allocate new funding from the recently passed municipal option sales tax to prioritized green infrastructure projects, begin construction of multiple projects in the Proctor Creek Watershed, and complete one of the largest permeable paver projects in the country. These projects and initiatives are priorities for Atlanta's quest to become a top-tier sustainable city.
Atlanta: Partnership for Southern Equity
The Partnership for Southern Equity pushes for policies and actions that promote equity and shared prosperity in metropolitan Atlanta and beyond. Through forums, research, and other efforts, the Partnerships for Southern Equity brings together a regional ecosystem of partners to lift up and realize just, sustainable, and civic practices for balanced growth and opportunity. This One Water delegation brings together neighborhood and non-profit leaders who are working together on a range of issues including equitable development, transportation planning, environmental justice, and are now engaging more deeply on water related issues. Partnership for Southern Equity has initiated an effort with local and national partners to organize a collective impact approach toward realizing equity in green infrastructure decision making and local investments.
Georgia Association of Water Professionals
The Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) is a unique one water statewide professional association of over 4,000 individual members, and more than 200 utilities and companies working in the fields of water supply, water treatment, and water protection. Since 1932, the Association has provided training, education, professional develop- ment, and promoted sound public policy in water resources and related environmental fields. The Association serves as an umbrella organization for the Georgia members of the Water Environment Federation, the American Water Works Association, the American Water Resources Association, the Georgia Water Wise Council, the Georgia Groundwater Association, and the American Backflow Prevention Association. GAWP members include those on the “frontline” that operate treatment plants and water systems, maintain infrastructure, conduct lab tests and assure compliance, and serve Georgians in the constant delivery of safe drinking water and protection of water quality. GAWP members also include utility executives and managers, customer service representa- tives, public education and outreach professionals, engineering, planning and design consultants, and equipment representatives. The association not only serves the entire realm of the water industry in Georgia, but seeks to build one water partnerships with other groups that will help to secure our water future.
The One Water Iowa Delegation is a collaboration of diverse leaders— urban and rural—committed to building a sustainable water and environmental future for the state. Working together, Iowa is dedicated to integrating solutions, where water and other resources are managed in a holistic and coordinated way through collective understanding of surface and ground water, drinking water, wastewater, storm water, and flood water management. In 2013, Iowa developed a Nutrient Reduction Strategy with a robust science and technology assessment with broad stakeholder alignment, including point and nonpoint source commitments, to adopt technologies that improve water quality. Moving forward, Iowa is embracing a broader water future and expanding the focus to include climate change impacts and opportunities, soil health, watershed planning, resilient communities and substantial funding. Following this framework, watershed communities are working together to reduce flood risk as well as improve water quality and soil health both upstream and downstream. This work is building a sustainable water future, plus stronger communities and agricultural industry, to help Iowa be better tomorrow than we are today.
Kansas City Region
The Kansas City regional delegation is a bi-state group of water and wastewater professionals, non-profits, and community partners dedicated to addressing the future of water in the metro area. In order to embrace a one water approach in an area divided by two major rivers and a state line, community partnerships and strong, well-defined goals are a necessity. Our region is demonstrating our commitment to a one water future through green infrastructure, public-private partnerships, combined sewer overflow reduction, bi-state watershed work groups, strong community outreach, and innovative communication and education strategies. This regional delegation includes representatives from Kansas City and Independence on the Missouri side, Johnson County on the Kansas side, the Mid-America Regional Council, which joins the region together through long-term planning, and the community partners that work with these entities in both states. The goal of the delegation is to work together during One Water Summit 2016 to understand and break through the boundaries that separate our utilities and increase collaboration to improve water quality throughout the region.
Los Angeles, CA
The One Water Los Angeles Delegation—represented by public, private, and non-profit leaders—is a shining example of the collaboration that is critical to accomplishing the city’s One Water LA 2040 program. The program objectives include: smarter land use practices, healthier watersheds, greater water and wastewater system reliability, increased efficiency and operation of water utilities, livable communities, resilience against climate change, and protection of public health—all key elements of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s sustainability “pLAn” and drought resilience plan to reduce water portable consumption and increase local water supply sources. Achieving these objectives in a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles requires a paradigm shift—from separate city depart- ments, non-governmental organizations, and regional agencies working independently, to a model that instills innovation, integration, and inclusion in all of the city’s water management efforts. The stakeholder- driven One Water LA 2040 program is already producing results, as seen in the collaborative efforts to replenish groundwater basins with 30,000 acre-feet per year of recycled water, to implement projects that capture urban runoff and stormwater to improve water at the city’s beaches while replenishing groundwater, and to bring together multiple city departments (such as LAX Airport, Recreation and Parks, City Planning, City Transportation) to implement new projects, policies and ordinances that are greatly expanding water recycling, water conser- vation, and stormwater capture. By implementing projects such as these, while creating a network of collaboration, Los Angeles is creating the resiliency it needs to thrive for generations to come.
Commitment to Action: The City of Los Angeles has embraced the one water vision over the past fifteen years. Los Angeles is proud to strengthen the commitment to an integrated approach that instills innovation, integration, and inclusion in all of the city’s water management efforts by committing to working together with local, regional, and community partners to reduce reliance on purchased imported water by 50% by 2025, increase our local water supply by 50% by 2035, and reduce our per capita potable water use by 20% by 2017. Today, partners are working collaboratively to create smart policies and multi-beneficial projects to capture and use more stormwater, and increase water recycling and conservation leading to healthier watersheds, greater water and wastewater system reliability, increased efficiency and operation of water utilities, livable communities, resilience against climate change and protection of public health. Over the next year, the city will work with partners to develop “quick fix” policies for city and regional agencies to effectuate efficient water management, modify city engineering specifications to allow recycled water use in concrete, and modify codes to allow for smarter land use practices. In addition, the city will complete the One Water LA 2040 Plan which will be the roadmap to create a water resilient city towards 2040 and beyond.
The New Jersey delegation brings together utility, nonprofit, and foundation leaders who are working together through Jersey Water Works, a new collaborative engaged in transforming inadequate water infrastructure through investments in sustainable, cost-effective solutions that provide communities with clean water and waterways; healthier, safer neighborhoods; flood and climate resilience; local jobs; and economic growth. Jersey Water Works is led by a multi-sector 20-member steering committee. More than 200 supporting members have pledged to advance the collaborative’s shared goals and more than 100 of them are actively engaged in committee work. In April, the collaborative adopted a 2016 work plan with projects in each of its four key focus areas: Effective Green and Gray Infrastructure; Smart Combined Sewer Overflow Plans; Financially Sustainable Systems; and Empowered Stakeholders.
Commitment to Action: The work plan's 15 projects range from revising state policy; defining and marketing best practices; partnering with mayors, trade associations, and community organizations; convening support networks for practitioners; to providing training and resources. At One Water Summit 2016, the New Jersey delegation members renewed their commitment to helping advance the Jersey Water Works 2016 Work Plan, through some combination of their participation on Jersey Water Works committees, their professional activities and as engaged citizens.
The Northeast Ohio One Water delegation includes representatives from public, private, nonprofit, research, economic development, and academic institutions. The delegation is led by the Cleveland Water Alliance—an organization that coordinates, facilitates, and fosters economic development through a water innovation cluster and elevates the conversation about the value of clean water to our region. Delegation partners include the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, JobsOhio, TeamNEO, NASA Glenn, and Cleveland State University. At One Water Summit 2016, the Northeast Ohio delegation will announce Phase 2 of its Value of Water study for Northeast Ohio which will explore the link between clean and reliable water to regional economic growth and business, including impacts on water enabled industry, jobs/workforce development, and gross regional product (GRP). The Northeast Ohio delegation will also launch the first in the nation Bio- and Eco-mimetic Water Innovation program to: 1) develop and bring to market biomimicry inspired solutions to improve water quality; 2) prepare design guidelines, protocols and policy frameworks for integrating the biomimicry process into stormwater management, green infrastructure and shoreline stabilization/enhancement, and; 3) deliver workshops to interested private and public sector groups.
Commitment to Action: CWA was pleased to announce a commitment at the US Water Alliance's One Water Summit to launch data and technology driven solutions on a One Water Lake Erie. Entitled AquaHacking 2017: United For Lake Erie, and in partnership with stakeholders in Canada, the program is an opportunity to tap the public’s interest in apps, hacking, open data and new technology to elevate the value of clean water, and improve understanding of its importance to the vitality of the Great Lakes region. Further, it is an opportunity to drive innovation in the water technology sector (water quality/quantity nexus with ag/energy/manufacturing) including shared water quality data platforms, and to engage younger people pursuing technical careers in the “Blue Economy.” Each of Lake Erie’s major metropolitan areas will participate and will stress bringing data, collaboration, and technology to drive new solutions to water quality challenges of the Lake and its supporting watersheds.
The Raleigh-Durham delegation represents local governments, conservation organizations, consultants, and North Carolina State University. Almost 2.5 million people live in the Research Triangle—a region that is growing rapidly in terms of both population and economic activity. Much of the increased growth is concentrated in the cities of Durham, Raleigh, Cary, and Chapel Hill which share the Upper Neuse and Upper Cape Fear watersheds. The region’s local governments are collaborating on balancing the demand for clean water with the need to reduce nutrient loading in local rivers and reservoirs. The Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative is focused on source water protection of Falls Lake and other reservoirs. The Upper Neuse River Basin Association is helping coordinate a functional and collaborative path toward compliance with clean water laws and regulations. Within the redeveloping downtown areas of Durham and Raleigh, multipurpose green infrastructure projects are being pursued to improve storm water management and water quality while also providing new recreational corridors that generate investments in compact, residential, retail and office development connected by public transit, walking and biking.
San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco One Water Delegation includes representatives from public, private, and non-profit entities who are passionate about advancing a sustainable water future, serving our community, and being a good neighbor to all whose lives or neighborhoods are directly affected by our water and wastewater operations. Leading the delegation is the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), a department of the City and County of San Francisco that provides water, wastewater, and hydroelectric and solar power services to San Francisco. The SFPUC is the first utility in the nation to adopt an agency-wide Community Benefits and Environmental Justice policy. The San Francisco Delegation is implementing eight new large-scale green infrastructure projects, climate resiliency improvements on infrastructure along our coastline, and major upgrades to San Francisco’s three wastewater treatment plants. We are also developing pioneering water conversation and diversification programs. One such program, the San Francisco Non-potable Water Program, is the first in the nation mandating new developments to reuse water onsite for non-potable purposes such as toilet flushing. At One Water Summit 2016, the San Francisco delegation will discuss the SFPUC’s partnership with the US Water Alliance on the National Blue Ribbon Commission to Accelerate the Adoption of Onsite Water Reuse. Over the course of the next two years, the National Blue Ribbon Commission will develop and advance policy and regulatory recommendations that support implementation of onsite water reuse projects nationwide.
Commitment to Action: The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is proud to join the US Water Alliance in a commitment to convene a National Blue Ribbon Commission to Accelerate the Adoption of Onsite Water Reuse. This two-year project aims to address institutional and regulatory barriers that have stymied adoption and scaling of innovative onsite systems to treat and reuse water within buildings. Building upon four years of work, the Commission, chaired by the SFPUC and comprised of representatives from water utilities and public health agencies, will focus on developing and proposing policy recommendations and regulatory guidelines for onsite water reuse systems for consideration by state agencies and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Over the next year, the SFPUC will work with members of the National Blue Ribbon Commission to develop recommendations on water quality criteria, monitoring and reporting requirements, and operational and permitting strategies for state agencies to adopt. In addition, the Commission will identify emerging business models for water utilities that support the expansion of onsite water systems and open up new lines of business for utilities.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some of the most significant water challenges of Southeast Louisiana were made known to the world: storm surge, flooding, a degraded coastline, and subsidence. Following the revelation that generations of water infrastructure—once world-leading— were neglected and below capacity, leaders from across the region and the world initiated a wave of innovation in coastal and urban water infra- structure. Today, a diverse water cluster, including key assets and investments from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and along the coast, are turning environmental challenges into economic advantages. By harnessing billions of dollars to implement of the State of Louisiana’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast (a 50 year, $50 billion plan for coastal protection and restoration), as well as the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan (a vision for living with water in the New Orleans region), new earth science specialties in coastal and urban water are abounding. The Southeast Louisiana Delegation at One Water Summit 2016 represents a small sample of this wave, with leadership from the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, water industry leaders, economic development professionals, philanthropy, and small business/entrepreneur accelerators.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization with a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Our vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives. In North America, we strive towards enduring conservation of the region’s water resources. The Nature Conservancy deploys more than 300 staff focused on freshwater across North America. In conjunction with many partners, we work to keep natural systems healthy to ensure our waters remain clean, abundant, and managed in ways that meet the needs of people and nature. Our portfolio of nature-based solutions includes focal areas of water resources infrastructure, water markets, water funds, risk reduction and resilience, urban water, and agricultural nutrients. In Metro Atlanta, the Conservancy’s water projects include collaborating with farmers to reduce agricultural runoff in the rivers of north Georgia and investigating the relationship between storm water runoff and tree canopy.
Commitment to Action: In 2014 in partnership with the International Water Association and the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative The Nature Conservancy released the Urban Water Blueprint, an analysis of more than 2,000 drinking water sources serving 530 cities worldwide. The Conservancy found that watershed conservation can measurably improve water quality and that one in four cities would see a positive return on investment from watershed conservation. For Atlanta, the analysis identified sedimentation and nutrient pollution as water quality risks and pointed to forest protection and reforestation as having the most potential for addressing those issues.
Now, here in Georgia, we are asking additional questions to help the metro Atlanta area better understand the potential for greater watershed conservation.
o Where can forests capture and filter stormwater?
o How can forests meet other community needs, especially where there is limited access to nature?
o How can forests better support native wildlife?
The University of Georgia has conducted a spatial analysis. Georgia Tech and the Green Infrastructure Center are conducting a socio economic analysis now and soon the University of Georgia will conduct a biodiversity assessment. Along the way we are asking other partners to provide their input. Over the next year, The Nature Conservancy is committed to producing these analyses of the multiple benefits of large green infrastructure for metro Atlanta – stormwater retention, habitat for wildlife, greenspaces for people – sharing them with partners like the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission, The Conservation Fund, American Rivers, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Trees Atlanta and working with our partners to increase watershed conservation in metropolitan Atlanta.
The Tucson One Water Delegation unites leaders and staff from the City of Tucson and Tucson Water Department who jointly are creating a vision of long-term water sustainability for this Sonoran Desert community. This vision prioritizes the protection of Tucson’s finite groundwater resources and the efficient use of Tucson’s entire renewable water portfolio, including imported water from the Colorado River, reclaimed water, potable reuse, and seasonal rains that fall locally. Tucson has pioneered and led innovative strategies to make water conservation a way of life, and has pioneered flexible water- sharing agreements with other Arizona cities to collaboratively manage water resources. Conservation, water sharing, rainwater and stormwater harvesting, potable reuse, and groundwater recharge will be increasingly important responses to long-term drought conditions in the Southwest. Tucson Water and the City of Tucson are committed to leading regional water sustainability throughout southern Arizona.
Upper Flint River Basin, GA
Georgia’s Flint River has its source in an urban area near Atlanta’s international airport, and provides water supply throughout its headwaters in southern metropolitan Atlanta. The Upper Flint River Basin Delegation includes stormwater managers, sustainability professionals, nonprofit staff, and water providers from throughout the Flint River’s headwaters. Most of these delegates are participants in the Upper Flint River Working Group, a three-year-old voluntary, collaborative group of water utility and non-governmental stakeholders addressing drought resilience and water availability. The delegation includes agencies that neighbor one another in the urban and suburban portions of the watershed, from the river’s source to the fringe of metropolitan Atlanta. These agencies each manage one or more aspects of urban water flows with direct implications for water resource sustainability both within their own service areas and in those of their neighbors in the basin. Delegates are pursuing water supply security and watershed sustainability through water efficiency, reuse, drought preparedness, stormwater management and other measures, as well as convening for collaborative dialogue across political boundaries at the watershed scale. At One Water Summit 2016, the Upper Flint River Basin delegation will share our experiences and reaffirm our commitment to river basin sustainability with additional stakeholders from the upper river’s urban headwaters to its rural reaches.
Commitment to Action: At the 2016 One Water Summit, the delegation from Georgia’s upper Flint River basin committed to continuing a collaborative dialogue around drought resilience and Flint River flows at the basin scale, and to further engaging additional stakeholders throughout the Upper Flint basin, from its urban headwaters to its rural landscapes. As we pursue those goals along with partners in the Upper Flint River Working Group, delegation members are continuing productive discussions of the role of water conservation and efficiency, green stormwater infrastructure, reducing interbasin transfers, and increasing the amount of available information in order to improve decision making. For example, as of August 2016, water providers throughout the upper Flint River basin are convening regularly to share information regarding drought response measures being taken in response to present drought conditions.
The One Watershed Wisconsin Delegation brings together leaders from Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine who are working to advance a broad and sustainable vision for how to manage water resources in the state that is “America’s Dairyland”. Wisconsin’s One Watershed strategy prioritizes natural approaches to managing water and the associated impacts that infrastructure has on residents. Wisconsin’s innovative one water management strategies include generating energy through the wastewater treatment process; removing concrete from rivers; installing green infrastructure; working on shared water quality objectives between different utilities; and working upstream on water quality issues with the agricultural community. All of this is built on a solid foundation of outreach and collaboration. At the One Water Summit 2016, leaders in the Wisconsin delegation are committing to a state-wide cooperative agreement to share best practices and learning across utilities to accelerate the adoption of the One Watershed framework.
Commitment to Action: The One Watershed Wisconsin Delegation brought together leaders from Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine who are collaboratively working to advance a broad and sustainable vision for how to manage water resources in the state that is "America's Dairyland". Wisconsin's One Watershed strategy prioritizes natural approaches to managing water and the associated impacts that infrastructure has on residents. Wisconsin's innovative one water management strategies include generating energy through the wastewater treatment process; removing concrete from rivers; installing green infrastructure; and working upstream on water quality issues with the agricultural community. All of this is built on a solid foundation of outreach and collaboration. At the One Water Summit 2016, leaders in the Wisconsin committed to a state-wide cooperative agreement to share best practices and learning across utilities to accelerate the adoption of the One Watershed framework. The underpinnings of this work are eight core principles and a list of priority areas where collaboration will be essential.