I am sitting in Denver International Airport returning home from Golden, CO, where I attended a Water Research Foundation workshop on Integrated Water Management: Planning for Future Water Supplies (Focus Area Project 4550; I serve on its Technical Advisory Committee, or TAC).
The description of Project 4550:
Water utilities globally are faced with increasing water supply pressures due
to factors such as population growth, increased hydrologic and climate variability and uncertainty, decreasing availability of high quality water sources, decreasing quality of existing sources, and increasing water demands from other sectors like energy and agriculture. Water utilities need innovative tools and approaches to overcome the numerous financial, social, environmental, technical, regulatory, and institutional challenges to diversifying water supply portfolios.
Yes, Project 4550 focuses specifically on utilities so don't give me grief about ag interests or any others not represented.
Most of the 35 or so attendees were from utilities. Among those cities, regions, and organizations represented were: New York City DEP, San Francisco PUC, East Bay (CA) Municipal Utility District; Santa Clara Valley (CA) Utility District; Chandler (AZ); Greater Cincinnati; Tampa Bay; San Diego PUD; Los Angeles DWP; Seattle Public Utilities; Denver Water; Colorado Springs Utilities; Tarrant Regional Water District (Ft. Worth, TX area); Aurora Water (Denver area); American Water; Albuquerque (NM) - Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority; Texas Water Development Board; American Water Works Association; Florida DEP; USEPA; UC-Berkeley; Colorado State University; Oregon State University & AWRA (yours truly); Water Environment Research Foundation; WateReuse Research Foundation; Water Research Foundation; and Brown and Caldwell.
Cindy Paulson is the Project 4550 PI and Lynn Williams is Project 4550 Manager. Each is from B & C and were ably supported by Sarah Reeves and Tony VanHaverbeke, also from B&C. John Whitler is WRF Project 4550 Research Manager; Jennifer Warner (Research Manager); Traci Case; and Chris Rayburn also represented WRF.
Cindy, Lynn, Sarah, and Tony did a great job running the workshop, which sought to identify IWM challenges and opportunities that would be research project topics. The TAC will then select from and/or augment the workshop suggestions, which will then be presented by John Whitler to the WRF Board for potential funding through RFPs.
I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. I met people I had never met before and likely never will meet again. Most were engineers - not that I don't meet and work with engineers, but these were, for the most part, boots-on-the-ground types who face the challenges of ensuring good quality drinking water and properly-treated sewage, harnessing stormwater runoff, maintaining infrastructure, etc., so that the rest of us don't have to think about these things. These are daunting tasks, giving the pitiable funding environment and the prospect of climate change.
Presentations were short and to the point and provided excellent talking points. Some folks are doing some real innovative work, often in the face of seeming impossible hurdles. It actually renewed my faith in water managers, who generally labor in obscurity. If we don't hear about them, then they are doing their jobs and get no thanks. But if there is a misstep, however slight, they take the brunt of the criticism and consequences. They are a dedicated lot.
There were (apparently) some missing voices - economists, public-policy types, sociologists, and a few others.
The B&C folks assembled a great literature review and survey report (74 respondents). I am not at liberty to post it. Too bad; it is a very good resource. I will post the references. The contents are shown below.
I must brag that our excellent AWRA Policy Committee reports on IWRM, especially the first one, were featured prominently. I have posted them below:
AMCOW. (2012). Water Security and Climate Change Resilient Development—Strategic Framework. African Ministers Council on Water, Water Climate Development Programme, Global Water Partnership.
ATSE. (2012). Sustainable Water Management—Securing Australia’s Future in a Green Economy. Australian Academy of Technical Sciences and Engineering, Australian Research Council.
AWRA Policy Committee. (2012). Case studies in integrated water resources management: from local stewardship to national vision, Middleburg, Va.
AWRA. (2011). AWRA Position Statement: Call for a National Water Vision and Strategy.
Baranowski, C. (2012). Climate Ready Water Utilities: Helping the Water Sector Adapt to a Changing Hydrologic Cycle.
Water Environment Federation, WEFTEC 2012 Proceedings, p1893–1896.
Biswas, A. K. (2008). Integrated Water Resources Management: Is It Working? Water Resources Development.
Brueck, T., O’Berry, D., Blankenship, L., Kruse, D., Sands, C., Manning, A., Brink, P., Shark, A., Jones, C., Branosky, E., Forbes, S., Gorman, H., Van de Hei, D., Hartnett, D., and Brown, E. (2012) Forecasting the future: progress, change, and predictions for the water sector—Trend Whiter Papers. Water Research Foundation. Project 4232.
Chesnutt, T. W., Fiske, G., Beecher, J. A., & Pekelney, D. M. (2007). Water Efficiency Programs for Integrated Water Management. AwwaRF.
Duranceau, S., Pfeiffer-Wilder, R., Douglas, S., Pena-Holt, N., and Watson, I. (2011). Post-treatment stabilization of desalinated water. Water Research Foundation.
Ellis, B., Scholes, L., Shutes, B., and Revitt, M. (2009). Developing a framework for sustainable stormwater management. 3rd SWITCH Scientific Meeting, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Global Water Partnership Technical Committee. (2004). Unlocking the Door to Social Development and Economic Growth: How a More Integrated Approach to Water Can Help. Stockholm: Global Water Partnership.
Global Water Research Coalition. (2008). Water and Energy: Report of the GWRC Research Strategy Workshop. London.
GWP Technical Committee. (2005). Catalyzing Change: A Handbook for Developing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water Efficiency Strategies. Global Water Partnership.
Hatt, B. E., Deletic, A., and Fletcher, T. D. (2006). "Integrated treatment and recycling of stormwater: a review of Australian practice." Journal of Environmental Management, 79, 102–113.
Huber-Lee, A, Swartz, C, Sieber, J., Goldstein, J., Purkey, D., Young, C., Soderstrom, E., Henderson, J. and Raucher, R. (2006). Decision support system for sustainable water supply planning. AwwaRF, Denver, Colo.
Huber, M. C., Willis, D. B., Hayes, J. C., and Privette, C. V., III. (2010). Price Endogeneity and Marginal Cost Effects on Incentive Compatible Stormwater Management Policies. Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s 2010 AAEA, CAES & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, Denver, Colo.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2008). Climate Change and Water. IPCCXXVIII/ Doc.13, Geneva.
Khan, S. (2013) Drinking water through recycling—The benefits and costs of supplying direct to the distribution system. Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Kiefer, J., Clayton, J., Dziegielewski, B., and Henderson, J. (2013). Changes in water use under regional climate change scenarios. WRF, Denver, Colo.
Lawson, R., Ryan, S., Shreeve, G., & Tucker, A. (2014). The Links and Benefits of Water and Energy Efficiency Joint Working. Water Research Foundation.
Linden, K., McClelland, C. J., Drewes, J. E., Khan, S., & Smith, J. (2012). Water Reuse 2030: Identifying Future Challenges and Opportunities. WRRF.
Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly and Mid-Region Council of Governments. (2004). Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan 2000–2050, Volume 1.
Mukheibir, P., Howe, C., & Gallet, D. (2014). What’s Getting in the Way of a ‘One Water’ Approach to Water Services Planning and Management? Water. May 2014.
Najjar, K. F. (2011). Integrated Water Resources Management: Bringing It All Together. Water Resources IMPACT,13-38.
National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). (2009). Confronting Climate Change: An Early Analysis of Water and Wastewater Adaptation Costs. 104p.
National Research Council. (2012). Understanding Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater (pack of 5 booklets). Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
Ross & Associates Environmental Consulting, Ltd. (2012). Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities. USEPA.
Roy, S., Chen, L, Girvetz, E., Maurer, E., Mills, W., Grieb, T. (2010) Evaluating Sustainability of Projected Water Demands under Future Climate Change Scenarios. National Resources Defense Council.
Roy, T. Funding Recycled Water Through IRWM. San Diego County Water Authority.
Sandison, D. (2012). Overview of Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan. Washington State
Senate, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Economic Development Committee.
Sedlak, D. (2014). Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource. Yale University Press.
Tchobanoglous, G., Leverenz, H., Nellor, M., and Crook, J. (2011) Direct potable reuse—A path forward. WateReuse Research Foundation and WateReuse California.
Texas Water Resources Institute. (2014). Groundwater—Examining a valuable, but hidden, resource.
UNEP. (2012). The UN-water status report on the application of integrated approaches to water resources management.
United States Army Corps of Engineers. (2010). National Report: Responding to National Water Resources Challenges, Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future. Washington, D.C.
USGS. (2013). Adaptive Management. U.S. Geological Survey – Science and Decisions Center. Last updated: April, 2013. USEPA. (2012). Integrated municipal stormwater and wastewater planning approach framework, memorandum to EPA
Regional Administrators from Nancy Stoner and Cynthia Giles, June 5, 2011.
USEPA. (2014). Moving Towards Sustainability: Sustainable and Effective Practices for Creating Your Water Utility Roadmap.
Water Environment Research Federation. (2010). Sustainable Integrated Water Management State of the Knowledge. https://www.werf.org/i/ka/Sustainable_Integrated_Water_Management/
"Historically, we are over-engineering things. There is a lack of understanding and appreciation of natural system function. There is a lack of buy-in for true green infrastructure." - Survey respondent