Smart, Clean & Green

21st Century Sustainable Water Infrastructure

21st Century Sustainable
InfrastructureOn Feb. 25, WERF and the National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project held a briefing and discussion in Washington, D.C., on emerging smart, clean and green approaches in water management -- systems that use, treat, store and reuse water efficiently at small scales and that blend designs into restorative hydrologies. 

Big pipes transporting water to and wastewater away from our cities are often old and under capacity. Many existing methods of water use and wastewater treatment are wasteful, energy intensive and environmentally disruptive. Ultimately, as climate change exacerbates droughts and storm events, populations grow, and water becomes scarce, these systems may not be sustainable.

Decentralized water technologies and designs are the keys to enhancing the performance of the nation’s aging centralized water, stormwater, and sewer infrastructure. These technologies, including rain gardens and green roofs, water-efficient appliances and landscaping, decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse systems, will beautify our cities and towns, stimulate our local economies, enhance water supply, recover energy and nutrients, and improve our health and environment.

This briefing and discussion brought together decentralized systems experts, federal agency representatives, foundations, and others to inform participants about the potential for decentralized systems to achieve ecosystem, economic, social, and other benefits for the nation. Participants also shared information and discussed the research needed to advance the knowledge and science of these systems.

View photos from the event.

Presentations from the Event

Introduction: WERF Program Director Jeff Moeller
Opening Remarks and Meeting Purpose: Chris Serjak, Alignment to Action

21st Century Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Panel 1: Prospectives from University, NGO, Private and Other Organizations

Patrick Lucey, Aqua-Tex, British Columbia
An Ecologist's Perspective on Healthy Water Systems
Related Handout

Edward Clerico, Alliance Environmental, LLC, New Jersey
Case Study: Water-efficiency, Stormwater and Wastewater Reuse in the City
Related Handout

Mark Shannon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
[[Smart_Clean_Green_Sh|Achieving Sustainability Through Research and Development]]
Related Handout

Paul D. Schwartz, Clean Water Action, Washington, D.C.
Green Infrastructure and the Green Economy

Andy Lipkis, Tree People, Los Angeles
Integrated Resource Planning in the City
Related Handout

Steve Moddemeyer, Collins Woerman
Evaluating Energy/Water Synergies at the District Scale
Related Handout

Valerie I. Nelson, Coalition for Alternative Wastewater Treatment, Massachusetts
The Federal Role in Building a 21st Century Water Infrastructure
Related Handout

Panel 2: Federal Agency Perspectives

Most presenters on the panel used talking points rather than slides, but slides are provided for those that used them. The main talking points have been incorporated into the briefing summary notes.

Robert Goo, U.S. Environmental Projection Agency (EPA)
Kenneth Belt United States Forest Service (USFS)
Jay Garland Dynamic Corp (NASA Contractor)
Lynda Stanley, National Research Council (NRC)
Paul Bishop, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Elaine Phelen, House Science Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment

Meeting Materials and Notes

Baltimore Charter
In March 2007, WERF sponsored a research needs workshop in Baltimore as part of an international conference on sustainable water systems. The workshop produced a document called the “Baltimore Charter.”  The charter was drafted as a commitment to design new water systems that mimic and work with nature. The charter was provided to participants as a background document for the briefing, as many of the speakers represent different opportunities and principles outlined in the charter. The last few pages of the charter identify a number of specific areas where research is needed.

Developing a Research Agenda for 21st Century Sustainable Water Infrastructure
As a follow-up to the Feb. 25 briefing, WERF convened a smaller workshop on Feb. 26 to update the research needs in the Charter and to incorporate ideas generated during the briefing and discussion. The group proposed refinements in several areas of the research needs agenda in order to improve the state of the art in integrated resource management. The refinements are highlighted in a meeting summary and explained in detail in a meeting report.

[[Smart_Clean_Green_Fe|Federal Programs for 21st Century Water Infrastructure]]
This document provides a list of federal agency and department programs conducting work in decentralized and integrated water research infrastructure.

Registered List of Participants