AWRA Annual Conference Held This Week

The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) held its Annual Conference this week in Orlando, Florida and ASDWA staff attended.  The conference featured sessions with presentations and discussion panels on a variety of topics related to water resources including:  water supply planning and management; climate change resilience, adaptation, and mitigation; water quality modeling and restoration; stakeholder engagement; education and outreach; and more.  Following are some of the conference highlights that should be of interest to state drinking water programs:

  • The opening keynote plenary panel featured presentations and a discussion on how aging infrastructure, the water and energy nexus, and water governance impact the resiliency of our water resources. The collective conclusion was that planning for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater need to be integrated and considered holistically in a way that is based on science and maximizes the costs and benefits of investment through rates and other funding structures; and includes a resiliency framework that provides flexibility for collaborative adaptive management by engaging stakeholders and adjusting to changing needs, and employing new approaches and technologies.
  • A session on potable reuse shared success stories from across the country and highlighted potable reuse as an element to be considered as part of a suite of options to address site specific needs for conservation and wastewater disposal that can achieve multiple benefits, including reducing costs and impacts from wastewater discharges into rivers, lakes, and oceans. The discussion also included considerations for regulatory programs and guidance, treatment options, and public transparency and engagement.
  • A number of conference sessions shared information about a large variety of efforts taking place across the state of Florida aimed at integrated water resources management; local and regional planning; water quality modeling and restoration; agricultural nutrient management; and more. These presentations highlighted some of the unique challenges that the State of Florida faces as a largely agricultural state using groundwater as its primary source of water for public supply and irrigation; and as a state that is subject to hurricanes and sea level rise, with drivers to protect and restore coastal estuaries and the Everglades.

A variety of other conference sessions, presentations, and panels featured information about activities taking place across the country and abroad to address water quantity and quality challenges such as drought, floods, sediment control, and nutrient pollution.  Some of these activities included collaborative funding approaches; water quality modeling and data on water use and availability; climate forecasting and research; mitigation and adaptation strategies; and more.
For more information about AWRA and its Annual Conference, visit the website HERE.