Washington, D.C. -- More than 60 leaders representing a broad spectrum of water stakeholder interests met in Washington D.C. last week to discuss and advance a more integrated and holistic approach to water resources: One Water Management (OWM), also known as Integrated Water Resources Management and Total Water Management. “Collaboration and integration lead to smarter water policies,” explains Ben Grumbles, President of the U.S. Water Alliance, the organization that convened the national meeting. Reflecting the growing momentum toward OWM, the meeting itself was the product of a collaboration among three key water foundations: the Water Environment Research Foundation, the Water Research Foundation and the WateReuse Research Foundation. Their interests were to inform and be informed by stakeholders and champions for a sustainable integrated approach.
Federal agencies including U.S. EPA, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, USDA Forest Service and Department of Interior, were all represented and expressing their growing interest in OWM as a path that can lead to a better use of resources for adapting to tightening economic resources, population growth, aging infrastructure and climate change. Local models were presented as examples including Alexandria Renew Enterprises in Alexandria, Virginia, who’s shifting the paradigm through partnerships and innovation that takes the waste out of wastewater and provide valuable community services.
This was the third annual meeting of federal, state, and various local representatives, thought-leaders, to share OWM perspectives. In 2012, a formal network was formed around a Statement of Collaboration to advance OWM practices. That network, now 18 organizations and growing, will expand and identify an action plan based on the feedback of the June 20 OWM meeting. Enthusiasm was expressed and a commitment clear to continue learning from each other and discussing smart water policies at all scales. Other potential actions, to name just a few, include bring planning, designers and industry to the table; developing an inventory OWM models, perhaps surveying the states; and provide feedback for research. To learn more about the network visit the Alliance’s website www.USWaterAlliance.org.
The U.S. Water Alliance (formerly Clean Water America Alliance) was formed in 2008 as a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization whose goal is to unite people and policies for “one water” sustainability. A broad cross-section of interests is coming together through the Alliance to advance holistic, watershed-based approaches to water quality and quantity challenges.