The Water Community Looks at Sustainability

EPA’s Office of Water, as part of its continuing effort to enhance the concept and principles of sustainability, convened a water and wastewater workshop in late September.  Titled “Water Sector Utility Sustainability:  The Path Forward,” the workshop engaged utility and state regulatory leaders for 1.5 days to identify ways to help utilities move toward sustainable operations over time, building on the many activities EPA, utilities, and states have undertaken over the past several years.  Lisa Daniels, Drinking Water Chief in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, participated on ASDWA’s behalf.

Discussions centered around four principal objectives:

  • Generate an enhanced and refined understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing water sector utilities as they strive for increased sustainability;
  • Identify areas of effective utility practice that can anchor efforts to promote more sustainable utility management in the future;
  • Characterize gaps in current knowledge, tools, and collaborative efforts that hinder greater progress in utility sustainable management; and
  • Identify a suite of ideas for new knowledge, tools, and collaborative efforts to address the identified gaps in support of improved progress on sustainable utility management under both conventional and emergent business models.

In identifying potential next steps, discussions among meeting participants fell into six possible arenas for action:    Building out a Road Map; Improving Utility Collaboration; State-Federal Role in the Utility of the Future; Knowledge Transfer and Community of Practice; Incentives for Sustainable Practice Adoption; and Effective Utility Management (EUM) Phase II.

A full report of the workshop’s deliberations and recommendations is attached below for your reference.

Sustainability Workshop Meeting Summary FINAL 11-16-12

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