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Experts Find Consensus in Meeting Water Infrastructure Challenges


WASHINGTON — The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) Executive Director Michael Deane participated today in a roundtable discussion on the findings of a recently published Aspen Institute report on sustainable paths towards improving our nation’s water infrastructure. The report, titled Sustainable Water Systems: Step One – Redefining the Nation’s Infrastructure Challenge, represents the consensus of a diverse group of renowned experts from public and private water utilities, government water-quality and water-resource bodies, corporations, water advocacy groups, and national nongovernmental organizations who took part in a year-long Aspen Institute Dialogue on Sustainable Water Infrastructure in the United States.

Participants in the dialogue examined the challenges that America’s drinking water and wastewater systems currently face. The resulting report provides 10 policy recommendations and 20 key elements of environmental, economic and social sustainability that participants agree establish a strong basis for informing legislative or regulatory action at any level. Deane, who served as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) associate assistant administrator for the Office of Water before joining NAWC in April, was also a participant in the dialogue while at EPA.

“This report challenges some conventional thinking around our water infrastructure, focuses attention on sustainability issues and demonstrates that the environment and watershed are critical components of our national water infrastructure,” said Deane. “I’m certain this report will serve as an important tool as policymakers forge a path toward improving our nation’s water infrastructure.”

Other panelists included dialogue participants G. Tracy Mehan III, principle of the Cadmus Group and former assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Water; Katherine Baer, Healthy Waters campaign director for American Rivers; and Wally Bishop, general manager of Contra Costa Water District.

The NAWC commends the Aspen Institute for tackling this complex issue and looks forward to working with federal, state and local legislators and regulators to deliver long-term solutions that will allow water and wastewater providers to meet America’s present and future water needs.

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