AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference Highlights Planning Efforts

The AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference was held on April 7-10 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Participants and speakers included representatives from states, Federal agencies, water utilities, consultants, academia, and non-profit organizations (including ASDWA staff).  The conference technical program focused on: integrated water resources management, sustainability, climate adaptation, source water protection, green infrastructure, and energy and water efficiency.  Some of the highlights from the meeting, that state drinking water programs may find particularly interesting, are following.

  • Numerous water systems across the country including:  Loudoun County Water in Virginia; Suffolk County Water in Long Island New York; Pigeon Forge and Franklin in Tennessee; Yakima Basin in Washington; the Central Arizona Project; Yarmouth in Maine; and Duck Reservoir in Alabama — are all using a variety of data, models, and information to project future water demand, climate impacts, and infrastructure and treatment needs as part of their long-term water supply planning efforts.  These systems are working in partnership with their customers and stakeholders to ensure water availability and water quality, as well as environmental and public health, through water recycling and reuse, source water protection, stream restoration, new source development, capital improvement projects, and other efforts.
  • Veolia Water is working on peer performance solutions to raise revenue with energy savings and using wastewater as a resource to recover chemicals from oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District has developed a holistic waste-to-energy approach for recovering and reusing phosphorous and carbon dioxide from wastewater and brownfields sites, recycling solid waste and organics, and creating energy from methane, as well as producing bio-gas to run public buses.
  • The City of Nashville is undertaking multiple efforts to improve water quality in rivers and streams with green infrastructure and low impact development, and provide educational opportunities with a water park and community events on the river.
  • Partners in the McKenzie River Watershed (that provides drinking water for Eugene, Oregon) are developing an ecosystem services payment program for private landowners to maintain and preserve their land, as well as encouraging organic farming approaches and creating markets for purchasing local produce directly from farmers.
  • The Town of Cary, North Carolina has an extensive metering system that allows the drinking water utility to collect hourly and daily meter data from users and irrigators.  This information is being provided to customers through a web portal and helps the utility analyze the water system’s capacity and long-term reliability, find potential leaks, and determine if users are following conservation restrictions.

For more information about this conference and to view the agenda, visit AWWA’s website