Conservation Professionals Collaborate for a Water Smart Future
By Warren Tenney
The water challenges that exist from coast to coast do vary based on circumstances and changing elements such as drought, climate and water supply options. However, the common goal of developing and adopting water efficient programs and policies will continually unite water providers and industry professionals around the country as they plan for a drier future.
Collaboration among those water professionals is key to achieving efficiency and ensuring that we are all using water wisely. To further enhance that collaboration, representatives gathered last week at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference (WSI) to discuss a wide array of conservation practices, technology and policies.
Over the course of the two-day event, attendees engaged in conversations on using the latest technology to enhance efficiency at their own facilities as well as expand the options available to residents and businesses in their communities through upgraded leak detection equipment, and flow sensors, just to name a few. Other discussions included looking at the impact technology can have on water use and ultimately how much water can it help save. Throughout the expansive range of sessions and workshops attendees collaborated on additional challenges such as how to better enhance outreach and education programs, how to improve working relationships between municipalities and HOAs so they can work more coherently, and how to continue to utilize community incentive programs that promote transforming landscapes to be more efficient and low-water use. In addition, attendees engaged in passionate discussions about the state of conservation across the country – including past efforts, present status and future goals.
Over 900 industry professionals came together to share best practices and discuss common water challenges, which in the end, will benefit cities, residents and businesses in the effort to be more efficient and grow the conservation culture. Among the attendees were many representatives from conservation departments from across the country, including staff members from many of the AMWUA cities.
WSI is the largest urban water-efficiency conference of its kind in the world which is why AMWUA and many member municipalities have been a part of the event since its inception back in 2007. This year many staff members from the AMWUA cities took part in the event as speakers which highlights the level of expertise that exists within the Valley. It also shows the leadership they offer to other conservation departments across the country. Some of the sessions they led included: Innovative Community Education (Phoenix); Sky Harbour Airport Cooling Tower Upgrades (Phoenix); Municipal Water Use Efficiency Approach (Gilbert); Landscape Water Budget Program (Gilbert); Auditing Large Commercial Properties (Scottsdale).
In addition to the workshops and break-out sessions that are available at WSI, attendees spent time in an extensive exhibition of water-saving technologies and programs from around the world. The exhibit allows industry experts to showcase their newest water-efficient technology while cities, and organizations such as AMWUA come together to highlight conservation programs, resources, tools and innovation currently being used. All of which provides an additional opportunity to connect conservation professionals with the resources they need in an atmosphere of networking, collaboration and learning, to create a new wave in water efficiency.
Last week’s WSI showed again that collaboration is key to ensuring all areas of the country have the tools and expertise to address the challenges and find sustainability solutions as we collectively face ever-evolving water challenges. The event also reveals the great level of passion that exists among conservation and industry professionals and really highlighted the great level of proficiency that exists in Arizona. Using innovation to achieve the never-ending goal of using less water in our arid climate and with the development of the conservation programs which are respected and often used as guidelines for other cities across the country, it demonstrates how water smart our Valley truly is.
For 50 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.
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