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AWWA’s Sustainable Water Management Conference

On April 11-13, the AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference was held in Albuquerque, NM, bringing together a variety of water sector stakeholders (including Deirdre Mason of ASDWA).  Robert Glennon, an Arizona law professor and author of several books, including the popular “Water Follies,” was the keynote speaker for the conference.  Glennon shared his expert advice about promoting the value of water, addressing the shortfalls of water rights and regulations, and ensuring the sustainability of water supplies in light of increased population growth and subsequent demands for energy and agriculture development.

Concurrent session presenters throughout the two-days of the conference provided information about technical, financial, and managerial decision-making processes for utilities, communities, and regions to achieve long-term sustainability through planning for increasing demand, extreme weather events, and surface and ground water quality and quantity variances.  Case studies offered a variety of long-term water supply planning examples that considered options for alternate sources, conservation, energy efficiency, desalination, treatment upgrades, water reuse, and more.

Take home messages from the conference included the following:  sustainability is a local issue; the price of water does not reflect the value; more corporate leadership is needed; state and Federal government programs need to provide better leadership; more data, measurement, and metering are needed; and utilities are using a variety of holistic tools and resources (but still need more data) to assess options and help make decisions to plan for the long-term sustainability of drinking water supplies.