Public, Private Sectors Pledge Billions During White House Water Summit

Commitments aim to accelerate water innovations, investment and sustainability.

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On World Water Day, March 22, the White House hosted the Water Summit to highlight creative, cross-cutting solutions to solve today's water challenges. Federal agencies, business leaders, local utilities and practitioners, and environmental organizations announced 150 new efforts and commitments to accelerate water innovation, investment and sustainability in the United States.

Value of Water Coalition members announced 17 commitments that advance water management, policy, education and innovation spotlighted at the White House Water Summit. Partners join other national leaders in committing to nearly $4 billion in private capital investments in water infrastructure, over $1 billion for research and development, $35 million in federal grants, and a presidential memorandum and action plan for long-term drought resilience.

American Water 
American Water will invest $3 million in new research projects in 2016 to help improve water service and quality. This announcement builds on American Water's commitment to invest $5.5 billion over the next five years into needed infrastructure renewal. In addition, American Water is announcing two new collaborations: (1) with General Electric, to identify and explore advances in the Internet of Things to help solve pressing challenges within the water industry; and (2) with ComEd, to pilot an Advanced Metering Infrastructure project that will harness new information technologies to better manage water usage and quality. 

The American Water Works Association is releasing Water Loss Audit Software version 5.0, a free tool that has been updated to support audits for water systems of all sizes. AWWA is challenging 1,000 water utilities to complete a water audit using AWWA's newest software in the next two years and report their findings on AWWA's website.

AMWA, AWWA, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies and WEF
The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, together with EPA, the Association of Clean Water Administrators, the American Public Works Association, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the American Water Works Association, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies, and the Water Environment Federation, is releasing important updates to the Effective Utility Management and the Keys to Management Success, a framework for sustainable water utility management. The updates incorporate new science and approaches in water utility management, such as performance monitoring and expanded use of data from automated and smart systems to optimize operations and minimize water loss.

Black & Veatch
By 2020, Black & Veatch expects to be working worldwide on the capital delivery of more than $4 billion in water-related projects. These projects will include desalination of seawater and brackish water sources, as well as direct and indirect potable reuse of treated water. Through them, Black & Veatch will provide a safer, more reliable, yet also more efficient, less costly and less environmentally impactful water supply. The aim is water resilience, enabling communities to purposefully respond to and recover from system shocks and stresses while advancing the sustainable use of the planet's finite water resources.

City of Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles is committing to capture an additional 12 billion gallons per year of stormwater for infiltration and reuse by 2025, on top of the more than 8.8 billion gallons the city captures today. Stormwater capture is a key component of the city's goal to source 50 percent of its water locally by 2035 and helps fulfill multiple objectives in the city's Sustainable City Plan.

DC Water, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, and Water Environment Federation
DC Water and the Water Environment Federation are developing a National Green Infrastructure Certification Program to promote a skilled green infrastructure workforce and help support community-based job creation in U.S. cities. The program will provide certifications to individuals performing the installation, inspection and maintenance of GI as having the required knowledge, skills and abilities to support long-term performance and sustainability of GI systems, which can help reduce combined sewer overflows and provide triple-bottom-line benefits. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is joining with WEF to help advance the certification.

Dow Chemical Company
The Dow Chemical Company is partnering with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity to offer free water-filtration systems to 150 Habitat for Humanity homes in Flint, Michigan. Through this partnership, Dow will provide the reverse osmosis technology for the water filtration systems that will be installed in residents' homes. 

Hampton Roads Sanitation District and CH2M
Hampton Roads (Virginia) Sanitation District and project partner CH2M are committing to pilot test two process concepts for advanced water treatment for indirect potable reuse and several emerging technologies for mainstream wastewater treatment and nitrogen removal. These pilot studies are part of a $1 billion sustainable water recycling initiative that will pump up to 120 million gallons of water into a coastal plain aquifer to provide a sustainable source of groundwater, inhibit saltwater intrusion, slow the rate of land subsidence in eastern Virginia, and significantly reduce surface water discharges from HRSD facilities into Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Led by the City of Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and World Business Chicago, a group of prominent water entities in the Chicago region, are launching Current, a new water platform to leverage the strength of the Chicago region's water industry for greater economic impact. Current aligns water entities in the Chicago region, including public utilities, private industries, research institutions, and entrepreneurs to solve the toughest water challenges facing the nation and the globe. Current will advance the efficiency and resiliency of water systems, develop, and deploy innovative water technology solutions to safeguard clean water and improve wastewater treatment, and drive increased investment and employment in the water industry. 

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
To help foster investment in resilient and sustainable water infrastructure, Ceres, the Climate Bonds Initiative, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, CDP, and the World Resources Institute are launching a Water Climate Bonds Standard to provide investors with verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating water-related bonds and to assist issuers in the global corporate, municipal, sovereign and supra-sovereign markets in differentiating their green-bond offerings. SFPUC expects to be the first issuer to align forthcoming bond sale with the standard in order to finance sustainable stormwater management and wastewater projects.

The U.S. Water Alliance and the SFPUC are committing to convene a national commission to accelerate the adoption of urban onsite water reuse. The Commission will bring together stakeholders to develop concrete, actionable policy and regulatory recommendations for establishing standards and practices to dramatically increase the adoption of onsite water reuse in communities across America.

BREW (Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin), a water-technology accelerator program of The Water Council, is committing to help 75 new water-technology startups launch their ideas into successful businesses over the next five years through a mentorship and intensive six-month, strategic training program. In addition, The Water Council is announcing an expansion of its BREW Corporate Accelerator Program, with A. O. Smith Corporation and Rexnord joining Veolia in the program to support startups in water technology. Veolia also joins Blue Legacy, Global Water Challenge, the US Water Partnership, and other partners to launch SOURCE, a new, freely accessible water-storytelling platform that will educate the public about the importance of water and offer recommended water management practices.  

WateReuse Research Foundation
National Water Research Institute is partnering with WateReuse Research Foundation and National Centre of Excellence in Desalination (Australia), to hold a workshop for about 50 delegates from the Pacific Rim nations to facilitate breakthroughs in advanced water treatment technologies. NWRI will produce a publicly available workshop report providing a framework for funding and collaboration on advanced water-treatment technology R&D.

Water Environment Federation and WateReuse
The Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) is a joint initiative by the Water Environment Research Foundation and WEF to accelerate innovation in the water industry. TWERF/WEF announced the launch of a new LIFT Technology Focus Area on Water Reuse, which will establish a new network of water users identifying, evaluating, and demonstrating innovative technologies to help improve the effectiveness and reduce the costs of water reuse. WERF and WEF will collaborate with WateReuse on implementing the new Focus Area. In September, WEF will release a Water Reuse Roadmap to encourage resource recovery from wastewater. 

Xylem will help drive innovation with an intention to invest at least $300 million in water-focused research and development activities through 2018. In addition, in collaboration with the U.S. Water Partnership and with technical advice and input from other public and private partners, Xylem will issue a new national water-innovation challenge with funding of $50,000, focused on themes including meeting growing demand for water, protecting cities from flood and drought, and protecting the nation's water resources. Finally, Xylem will support the efforts of the Everglades Foundation and the George Barley Water Prize by providing Xylem instrumentation as well as technical expertise to support field evaluations of nutrient-sensing and removal technologies.

Through their water-focused corporate citizenship initiative Watermark, Xylem has set a goal of logging 100,000 hours of employee volunteer time over the next three years in projects to include presentations and hands-on water-monitoring activities at local schools and community centers, water source cleanup activities to protect local water resources, and charity "Walks for Water" to raise funds and awareness of water issues.


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