Water Utilities Use Infrastructure Week to Educate Stakeholders

Educational videos, a social media campaign and meetings with lawmakers put a spotlight on aging water infrastructure this week
Water Utilities Use Infrastructure Week to Educate Stakeholders

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Across the country, water providers are rising to the challenge and creating innovative solutions to solve water-centric problems both at the local and national level. “Rebuild and renew” is the theme of the third annual Infrastructure Week, which runs May 11-15, calling attention to the issues municipalities face head-on every day.

After working around the clock for more than 100 years, the nation’s water infrastructure is aging and failing. According to the Value of Water Coalition, there is a water main break somewhere in the U.S. every two minutes. Furthermore, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $4.8 trillion needs to be invested in water infrastructure over the next 20 years.

This week, water utilities throughout the U.S. are raising awareness amongst consumers and other key stakeholders through education and conversation. For example, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is hosting a week-long series of videos taking viewers behind the scenes of the utility’s operations, including tours of the region’s wastewater system.

“Follow the Flow” traces wastewater’s path from the sewer system to Lake Erie, highlighting the tremendous value of investments in clean water infrastructure for the region. The intended audience is local media and elected officials.

Featured videos highlight the sewer district’s three wastewater treatment plants, a tunnel dewatering pump station 200 feet below the ground that’s capable of pumping 160 million gallons of combined sewage per day, and the utilities efforts to drastically cut down the number of combined sewer overflows since the 1980s.

NEORSD’s video series also plays off a social media campaign that encourages conversation through the hashtags #FollowTheFlow and #InfrastructureWeek. Additionally, the website infrastructureweek.org offers resources such as graphics municipalities are invited to share through their social media network.

Here are some other related Infrastructure Week events happening around the country:

  • In Minneapolis, Dow Water & Process Solutions is providing sustainable separation and purification technologies. Dow will host an event on Friday, May 15, with national and local stakeholders to spotlight innovations in addressing water resources and supply challenges and also discuss the growing Twin Cities water technology cluster.
  • Philadelphia Water and American Water will co-host, with the Economy League of Philadelphia and media partner WHYY, a forum on the state of water infrastructure and the innovative investments in Philadelphia's water system and across the Keystone State.
  • The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will spotlight how investments in water infrastructure are investments in jobs and the community at the 9th Annual Construction Contractors Breakfast. During the event, partner firms and the SFPUC will announce a $140,000 commitment for funding STEM curriculum at the Willie L. Brown Middle School.
  • In Chicago, Value of Water Coalition will co-host an event with the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, and the Union League of Chicago to discuss how to finance, build, develop and deliver world-class infrastructure and services.
  • In Washington, D.C., representatives from Value of Water Coalition will meet with members of Congress to discuss the essential service that water infrastructure provides and the need for infrastructure investment.

Source: Value of Water Coalition 



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