AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference Held this Week

The AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference was held this week in Portland, Oregon.  Almost 300 participants attended the conference from several states (OR, WA, WI, and CT), water utilities, consulting firms, academia, and nongovernmental organizations (including ASDWA staff).   Following are a few of the highlights from the conference.

  • Keynote presenters included Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy who spoke about his new book entitled, “Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability,” and Paul Fleming of Seattle Public Utilities who spoke about his utility’s efforts to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies and build capacity to manage climate risks.
  • A session on AWWA’s Water Conservation Program Standard G480 shared information about the associated water loss audit tool and checklist for water system self-assessments, as well as a presentation from Tampa Bay, Florida about the utility’s conservation efforts as part of their long term demand management and water supply planning activities.
  • A session on the economic advantages of watershed protection in forested watersheds featured presentations and a discussion about quantifying the reduced need for drinking water treatment, as well as the combined benefits of carbon storage (air), wildlife habitat, recreation, and water quality. Case studies from Connecticut and Virginia were also presented during this session.
  • A presentation from representatives of the City of Gresham, Oregon highlighted coordination efforts between the clean water and drinking water programs to ensure that stormwater infiltration wells were protective of nearby groundwater supplies.
  • Presentations about the Twin Cities in Minnesota and St. Johns River Water Management District in Florida provided information about conservation and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) program efforts to address surface water subsidence and depleted groundwater supplies.
  • Closing plenary panel representatives from the State of Oregon, the Portland Water Bureau, academia, and the industry sector spoke about: the state’s long-term water strategy for promoting local place-based planning; the utility’s regional water supply planning, emergency management, and conservation programs; technical tools and data; and integrated water resource management and planning strategies to address future challenges such as natural disasters, climate change, urbanization, food production, energy, and the environment.

For more information about the conference and program, visit the AWWA web site.