WaterNow Alliance attended our fourth annual National League of Cities’ Annual Summit last week in sunny Los Angeles, CA. The NLC conference offers local elected leaders professional development opportunities, discussions on common challenges and new trends affecting cities, and proven best practices to improve local communities. WaterNow Alliance has been an active part of NLC since we were founded, and we are delighted to be NLC’s go to partner to accelerate sustainable water solutions.
One of the major themes at this year’s conference was infrastructure. The National League of Cities has spent much 2018 focused on policy initiatives that encourage investment in American infrastructure with their “Rebuild with Us” campaign. This emphasis is very important to WaterNow since local officials decide the fate of 85% of spending on water infrastructure nationwide and are the key to our collective water future. We connected with many local officials one-on-one about these issues, and we were also honored to be asked to share some of our current initiatives to address these infrastructure challenges at three points throughout the conference as well.
- WaterNow’s Executive Director Cynthia Koehler spoke on the “Preparing to Rebuild and Reimagine Local Infrastructure” panel alongside Todd Appel, COO at Quantified Ventures, Candace Hollingsworth, Mayor of Hyattsville, MD and Paul Krekorian, Councilmember from Los Angeles. This panel discussed how cities can manage the comprehensive infrastructure projects needed to meet the multiple needs of the future. We were pleased to have over 100 audience members participate in this very important discussion. Cynthia discussed the new financing opportunity recently adopted by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), sharing the untapped potential to use new on-site, localized water infrastructure to address the water challenges faced by many cities and towns across the US. As conventional thinking about conventional infrastructure is no longer meeting our water planning needs, opportunities to finance new, decentralized water infrastructure are all the more important. You can read more about our work on this here.
- WaterNow’s Water Resource Specialist & Project Manager Danielle McPherson was joined on stage by Cynthia Koehler and the City of San Clemente’s Water Resource Manager Nikki Beach for NLC’s Spotlight Theater, “Creative Collaboration: Jumpstart Sustainable Water Programs with WaterNow.” We presented on our work with the City of San Clemente through WNA’s Project Accelerator. In October of 2017, WaterNow launched Project Accelerator to provide water utilities and cities with 3-6 months of technical and program assistance to help jumpstart a sustainable water project. We recently worked with the City of San Clemente to develop an HOA focused Water Efficient Landscape Outreach and Education Program to help HOAs better understand and reduce their water use. We also created a program toolkit that can be rebranded and replicated by other cities. You can read more about our work on this here, and consider applying for Project Accelerator when we open up applications again soon!
- WNA also spoke at the “World Cafe: Strategies for Sustainable, Livable Communities” where Cynthia and Sarah Musiker, WNA’s Communications and Outreach Manager spoke with city leaders interested in learning how to create sustainable cities and start planning for the development of long-term and comprehensive water management strategies for their local communities. During this round-robin style session, we had the chance to hear from locally elected officials on their local issues and needs and shared many of our tools to implement sustainable initiatives. We shared that one of the best ways to jumpstart local, sustainable water solutions and create more resilient communities is for them to attend our upcoming summit in Austin from March 27-28, 2019. You can find out more and register for that event here.
We were so pleased that infrastructure needs took center stage at the City Summit, and we had the chance to connect with local electeds on their sustainability and resiliency challenges and to provide guidance and best practices. This was our fourth year attending the Summit, and it just keeps getting better. We can’t wait to see you next year in San Antonio!