US Water Alliance Convenes 11th Annual One Water Summit
Today, the US Water Alliance’s One Water Summit concluded with 20 delegations delivering commitments from stage to ensure a sustainable water future for all. A total of 41 delegations joined more than 800 One Water colleagues from nearly 263 US cities to ensure all Americans have access to safe, affordable, reliable, and sustainable water services.
The summer of 2022 has been called the “summer of deadly flooding,” with at least 10 US states, cities, and counties experiencing intense rainfall and flooding. From Virginia to New Mexico, flooding has overwhelmed the capacity, pumping, and treatment capabilities of local water systems, creating contamination and undrinkable water.
“Intense rainfall and flooding reveal the inadequacy of infrastructure that was never designed for such a volatile and unpredictable climate. As we are seeing in communities such as Jackson, Mississippi, the financial and human toll is increasingly devastating,” says Mami Hara, US Water Alliance CEO. “Too many communities—Jackson, Flint, the Navajo Nation, Benton Harbor, and so many others—are living without clean drinking water or sanitation. That is unacceptable. And that is what drives so many of us here.”
In 2021, the Biden Administration and Congress committed $55 billion over the next five years to address aging and inadequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. As revealed the Alliance’s 2017 Value of Water Campaign Report, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure, much of the nation’s water infrastructure was designed or built nearly 100 years ago and has been underinvested in for the past 45 years.
“The infrastructure bill is one of the largest investments in water infrastructure in the history of the country, but it’s not enough on its own to close the gap,” says Scott Berry, US Water Alliance Director of Policy and Government Affairs. “Before the infrastructure bill was passed, our Value of Water Campaign and the American Society of Civil Engineers found that the capital investment gap for water infrastructure was $81 billion each year. This cannot become a ‘once in a generation investment in our future’—we must continue to fund improvements in our nation’s water infrastructure.”
“Our country has chronically underinvested in our water infrastructure, which has deprived many communities of reliable access to safe drinking water,” says United States Vice President Kamala Harris in a special video address. “We intend to replace every lead pipe in our nation over the next 10 years.”
Race is one of the biggest determinants of having experienced contaminated drinking water, water shutoffs, and the inability to pay water bills, which is a driving force for the Alliance’s Water Equity Network. “The Water Equity Network has been a supportive space for community leaders, institutions, and other partners to come together to break apart and understand big systemic problems, and to act on real solutions,” says Joe Fitzgerald, Water Equity Network member and Water City Program Manager at Milwaukee Water Commons.
“We know our movement can only succeed if we actively pursue and center racial equity in our work,” says Letitia Carpenter, Alliance Senior Program Manager. “I am so heartened to have more than 100 individuals from across 20 of the Alliance’s 33 Water Equity Network members in attendance at Summit, sharing with and learning from one another so that we may achieve equitable water management more efficiently and effectively.”
A key feature of the One Water Summit is the delivery of the US Water Prize, which recognizes individuals and organizations that are driving innovation in the water sector and imagining new possibilities in water.
“This year’s eight category winners came from an impressive slate of more than 160 nominees,” says Renée Willette, Alliance Vice President of Programs and Strategy. “Since the first prize was awarded in 2011, we have identified 64 incredible approaches that are advancing the One Water movement.”
The 2022 One Water Summit was co-hosted by the US Water Alliance, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Milwaukee Water Commons, and Milwaukee Water Works. The 2023 US Water Alliance One Water Summit will be held in Tucson, Arizona, co-hosted by Tucson Water.
About the US Water Alliance
The US Water Alliance advances policies and programs to secure a sustainable water future for all. Established in 2008, the Alliance is a nonprofit organization that educates the nation on the true value of water and water equity, accelerates the adoption of One Water principles and solutions, and celebrates innovation in water management. The Alliance brings together diverse interests to identify and advance common-ground, achievable solutions to our nation's most pressing water challenges. Our nearly 200 members and partners include community leaders, water providers, public officials, business leaders, environmental organizations, policy organizations, and more. Follow the US Water Alliance on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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