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2012 Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference

In 2012 the U.S. Water Alliance hosted it’s third annual Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference in Cincinnati, OH October 15-17, 2012. The Alliance spotlighted five U.S. cities and gave them an opportunity to share their models of innovation and collaboration – Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Syracuse, and Tucson.

The Leadership Conference is organized annually by the U.S. Water Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Council.  In 2012 it was co-hosted with CONFLUENCE Water and Technology Cluster of Greater Cincinnati.  Through the Leadership Conference, the Urban Water Sustainability Council and CONFLUENCE seek to connect the dots among water, land use, parks, forests, transportation, energy, agriculture, and other sectors around a goal of revitalizing cities with multi-benefit projects that produce triple bottom-line results.

 

Presentations

Below are the PowerPoint presentations from the 2012 Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference. Click on the presentation icon or title to view.

 

MONDAY OCTOBER 15

SPEAKER: ENVISION 2.0 CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
The Envision Rating System is a tool that can be used for infrastructure projects of all types, sizes, complexities, and locations to meet sustainability goals, be publicly recognized for high levels of achievement, make decisions about scarce resources and include community priorities in civil infrastructure investment. It answers the question, “Are we doing the right project?” and “Are we doing the project right?”
William J. Bertera, Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
SPOTLIGHT: GREATER CLEVELAND AREA – NORTHEAST OHIO REGIONAL SEWER DISTRICT
NEORSD is guiding Cleveland and 61 surrounding communities through two significant wet weather issues – CSOs and stormwater – at a time when Northeast Ohio is losing population and gaining vacancy. NEORSD is approaching these issues with multi-benefit, multi-partner programs that provide maximum value for regional investment. This presentation focuses on Project Clean Lake – NEORSD’s 25-year, $3 billion program to address CSOs with an emphasis on optimizing the mix of cost-effective gray and green infrastructure to achieve a 98% level of CSO capture. Partners will discuss early action green infrastructure projects and NEORSD’s regional approach to stormwater management and CSO control.
Kellie Rotunno, Director of Engineering & Construction, NEORSD
Robert Brown, Director, Cleveland City Planning Commission
Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, Manager of Stormwater Programs,  NEORSD
Lillian Kuri, Program Director for Architecture, Urban Design, and Sustainable Development,  The Cleveland Foundation
Terry Schwarz, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
SPEAKER: PARKNERSHIPS
Throughout the United States partnership opportunities between parks and water resource managers are being pursued as avenues for reducing stormwater costs and expanding park systems.  In particular, the drive to daylight and restore covered streams is being embraced to serve the triple bottom line.
Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance

TUESDAY OCTOBER 16

SPOTLIGHT: KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Kansas City has made a commitment to use green infrastructure as a way to address its combined sewer overflows and to become one of the most sustainable cities in the country.  This presentation will provide an overview of the Kansas City’s Green and Water Works programs.  As part of Kansas City’s federally-mandated Overflow Control Program, a 744-acre green infrastructure project is underway in one watershed to reduce combined sewer overflows.  Green infrastructure is used to intercept stormwater, keeping it out of the combined sewer system, reducing the overflow and the amount of excess water that gets pumped and treated.  To further enhance the green infrastructure efforts, the City is working with residents and neighbors to make improvements on their own properties by reducing water consumption and reducing the amount of stormwater that leaves a property through runoff or direct connections to the sewer system.  Kansas City’s project is one of the largest green infrastructure projects in the United States to reduce combined sewer overflows.
Terry Leeds, Director,  Water Services, Kansas City, MO
Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, 5th District Councilwoman at Large, Kansas City
Ron Coker, Vice President, Burns & McDonnell, (Missouri Overflow Control Program)
Lara Isch, Outreach & Education Coordinator,  Water Services, Kansas City, MO
Dennis Murphey, Chief Environmental Officer, City of Kansas City, MO
Kristin Riott,  Executive Director, Bridging the Gap, Inc.
SPEAKER: PROGRESS IN DEFINING THE WATER-ENERGY NEXUS: WHAT’S NEXT?
This presentation will showcase the Blueprint for Action, a collaborative effort between the Alliance for Water Efficiency and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy that spells out over 50 recommendations for needed actions in the areas of program, policy, research, and codes and standards.  Since the publication of the Blueprint in May of 2011, several initiatives are now underway which will be outlined in the presentation.
Mary Ann Dickinson, President & CEO, Alliance for Water Efficiency
SPOTLIGHT: TUCSON / PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA
The metropolitan area of Eastern Pima County Arizona is developing and implementing a Regional Optimization Master Plan (ROMP) as a $720 million program to modernize and upgrade the two major RWRD metropolitan treatment facilities. These modernizations will improve the water quality for recharge and reuse, develop a state of the art water quality laboratory, incorporate solar and rainwater harvesting features, and will help to develop habitat and birding features. The Pima County/Tucson team will present the ongoing collaboration with the water research scientists at the University of Arizona, Pima Association of Governments, Tucson Audubon Society and other community organizations to proudly transform these RWRD treatment facilities into a water-centric focus area for the region, capitalizing on the natural beauty of the Santa Cruz River and the award winning area of the Tucson Sweetwater Wetlands.
Jackson Jenkins, Director, Pima County Regional Wastewater Department
Alan Forrest, P.E., Director, Tucson Water Department
Paul Green, Executive Director, Tucson Audubon Society
Jeff Prevatt, Ph.D., Regulatory Compliance Manager, Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department
Claire Zucker, Director Sustainable Environment Program, Pima Association of Governments
KEYNOTE: Steve Maxwell, Managing Director, TechKNOWLEDGEyStrategic Group
Author of “The Future of Water” and a long-time strategic consultant and transactional advisor to the water industry, Maxwell will review current challenges and opportunities in the world water market, and will highlight four critical trends which will increasingly categorize the water business and water decision-making over the longer-term future.
SPOTLIGHT: RESOURCE RECOVERY
Dwindling availability of water, combined with increases and competition in demand, climate change impacts, trends toward true cost water pricing, among other “drivers,” necessitates that urban water planning incorporate consideration of strategies for use, conservation, and reuse of treated wastewater and stormwater. Three innovative initiatives will be discussed as illustrations of “win-win” approaches that achieve effective water management (urban water security/sustainability) while facilitating economic development.
Lisa Darling, Regional River Basin Program Manager, City of Aurora
Pete Frost, Executive Director, Douglasville-Douglas County Water & Sewer Authority
MaryLynn Lodor, Environmental Program Manager, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati
SPEAKER: FINANCING STORMWATER RETROFITS IN PHILADELPHIA AND BEYOND
Traditional means for stormwater infrastructure finance, such as bond issues, federal and state dollars—are becoming increasingly untenable, and it seems inevitable that private investment will be needed as cities contemplate future stormwater management planning. This presentation will discuss Philadelphia’s plan to use GI to mitigate stormwater run-off and how its parcel-based stormwater billing and credit system may present significant opportunities for private investors in local GI investment.
Lawrence Levine, Senior Attorney, Water Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Alisa Valderrama, Senior Project Finance Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
DIALOGUE: HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT A FRAMEWORK FOR INTEGRATED WASTEWATER AND STORMWATER MANAGEMENT?
U.S. EPA  Deborah G. Nagle, Division Director, Water Permits Division
U.S. EPA Mark Pollins, Director, Water Enforcement Division
   KEYNOTE: Daniel W. Bena, Senior Director, Global Sustainable Development, PepsiCo.
A presentation about the big picture of water sustainability, the critical necessity of innovative or less traditional partnerships, and the opportunity for U.S. leadership.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 17

SPOTLIGHT: SYRACUSE – ONONDAGA COUNTY
Save the Rain is a comprehensive stormwater management program designed to reduce CSO events impacting the health of Onondaga Lake and its tributaries using both conventional “gray” and green infrastructure technologies.  Onondaga County is working in close partnership with the City of Syracuse to implement dozens of green infrastructure projects and two significant stormwater storage projects to comply with a federal order to clean up Onondaga Lake.  Over the past year, Onondaga County constructed more than fifty distinct green infrastructure projects in an effort to comply with the newly amended ACJ and to demonstrate to the residents of Onondaga County the multiple benefits of green infrastructure.
Matthew J. Millea, Deputy County Executive for Physical Services,  Onondaga County
Maarten Jacobs, Director, Near Westside Initiative, Office of Community Engagement,  Syracuse University
Robert Kukenburger, CDM Smith
Mark Lichtenstein, Executive Director, Syracuse Center of Excellence/Center for Sustainable Community Solutions
Matthew J. Marko, Vice President, CH2M Hill
SPOTLIGHT: DENVER, COLORADO
The Denver Metro area is leading the way with innovative technology and resource recovery, especially nutrients. They are shifting the paradigm through resource recovery that takes the waste out of wastewater.
Steve Rogowski, Director of Operations/Maintenance, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District

 

Sidebar Presentations

A unique feature to the Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Conference, Sidebar Discussions occur simultaneously to the plenary session. They are designed to encourage discussion of today’s most pressing and up-and-coming urban water sustainability topics.

  HOW CAN A GREEN JOB STRATEGY HELP BROADEN SUPPORT AND FUNDING?
Focusing attention on the employment and the economic development impact of green infrastructure projects can help build broader constituencies of support for smart investments. Green For All will walk participants through some of the latest data, examples, tools and resources related to tracking and communicating the job creation potential of stormwater and green infrastructure projects.  We will discuss emerging best practices, review findings and themes from our ongoing work, and equip practitioners with talking points and strategies for their own work.
Jeremy Hays, Green for All
HOW CAN WE DRIVE COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE URBAN FORESTRY AND WATER SECTORS?
In 2011, a diverse group of mayors, public works directors, state foresters, NGO and association leaders and industry executives produced 12 recommendations which serve as the foundation for the Vibrant Cities Initiative. The aim was to create not only “greener,” but healthier neighborhoods by addressing city infrastructure, economics, social equity, landscape design and multiple other factors affecting urbanized areas.  This side-bar session will share those recommendations and help participants view water sustainability through the lens of urban forestry and vice versa. The discussion will facilitate experience and idea-sharing and identify ways to promote and leverage successes in the urban forestry and water sectors.
Jennifer Judd Hinrichs, Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition
HOW DO WE BUILD PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR WATER RATE INCREASES (AND THE TRUE COST OF PROVIDING WATER SERVICES)?
Per capita demand for water is declining, infrastructure is aging and needs repairs and replacement, rating agencies are increasing debt coverage ratios, environmental regulators are tightening requirements, electric rates are rising, source waters are threatened… But the public is largely unaware of these stresses on water utilities or of the importance of water services to public health, environmental protection and economic development. What strategies can public and private water utilities develop to increase public awareness of the value of water and public support for increases in water, wastewater and stormwater rates? Utilities and their partners are invited to share their experiences and information on what’s working and what’s not.
Bill Holman, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
HOW DO WE MEASURE THE BENEFITS OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE?
How do we comprehensively measure all of the benefits of green infrastructure? How can we not only put these green options on par with traditional gray infrastructure in terms of reliability and safety; but also show other significant benefits such as increased quality of life, improved public health, reduced energy requirements, resiliency to climate change, and enhanced natural environment? This Sidebar Conversation will discuss how a systems approach can be used in order to show the interconnections and interrelationships of our water resources, as well as measure the benefits of green infrastructure. This approach can facilitate new partnerships between utilities, park departments, schools, transportation agencies, redevelopment agencies and private interests. It can also leverage scarce resources (time and money) to implement projects with greater public support.
Adel Hagekhalil, City of Los Angeles – Bureau of Sanitation
HOW DO YOU INTEGRATE GREEN AND COMPLETE STREETS TO ACHIEVE TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS?
The Green Streets and Green Highways approach was developed to be a foundation and spring board for community and economic development programs and other planning and design efforts that can build on the planning and design principles of the Green Highway Partnership approach. This sidebar will examine the possibilities for integrating, or “coupling” programs as part of Green Streets designs. Some of the issues that will be discussed include public/private partnerships, Complete Streets, and meeting the goals of multiple regulatory and resource protection programs. Participants will share their experience and ideas on how to address the planning, program management, funding, regulatory requirements, and maintenance goals.
Neil Weinstein, Low Impact Development Center

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