We’re just two weeks away from the 3rd Annual WaterNow Alliance Summit in Salt Lake City. I’m so excited to be joined by WaterNow members, public officials, partner organizations and thought leaders from across the nation as we converge at the University of Utah to discuss collaborative ways to enable sustainable water solutions at the local level and create more resilient communities. We’ll be bringing our usual highly interactive approach to the key water issues of the day providing tangible resources, ideas, and connections that attendees can put to work immediately in their communities.
I can’t believe this is already our third summit! This year’s theme is “Accelerating Innovation,” and throughout the 2-day program we’ll be encouraging attendees to consider how they can best adoption innovative water strategies at home. We’re excited about the entire agenda but in keeping with the times, here’s a listicle of 5 five things I’m especially looking forward to:
- Our Incredible Speakers:
We’re delighted to have two incredible keynote speakers joining us: preeminent water expert Professor Robert Glennon from the University of Arizona, and George Hawkins, DC Water’s intrepid CEO who has recently retired and is now launching his own Moonshot. We’ve reached out to these leaders because – in very different ways – they are trailblazers breaking through conventional ways of thinking about water and bringing innovation to bear. They are both fantastic presenters - you won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear them.
- The 2018 Impact Awards:
WaterNow Alliance’s Impact Award honors public water decision makers for leadership in accelerating innovative and sustainable water solutions in their communities. The winner(s) will be announced at the Impact Award Dinner and Reception on Wednesday, March 28. We were so pleased to have an excellent group of nominations this year! You can learn more about the Impact Award and last year’s winners here.
- Breakthrough Developments in Financing for Water Innovation:
What if we could take even a small percent of the billions of dollars spent for capital water projects each year and redeploy it for decentralized, consumer-side of the meter innovations? We think the answer is – it would provide public water agencies with far more flexibility and catalyze a new major level of investment in these strategies. We’ll be exploring new guidance expected to be finalized shortly by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and what means for water agencies with nationally recognized financial and legal experts as well as our partner organizations. We promise that this is actually significantly more exciting than it sounds - a must-see session!
- “Paying More for Less” – A Workshop for Communicating with Ratepayers:
Is there anything worse than trying to explain to angry consumers that a rate increase is actually in their best interest after they’ve been conserving?This communications workshop provides tools and strategies for public officials and staff to communicate more effectively and successfully with their ratepayers using real-world experiences from utility leaders around the nation. Communication experts will guide attendees through ways to discuss financial and other community benefits of conservation pricing, and turn public anger and confusion into broad support for the utility’s long-term strategic vision.
- Saving Money and Water with Data:
This interactive panel will highlight how data can be used to invigorate and advance sustainable water management. We’ll hear from leading scientists in this space and then the fascinating story of how one California water agency teamed up with Facebook and Google to save $20 million during one of the worst droughts in California’s history. I don’t want to spoil their story, but this is a model for multi-faceted strategies in water reliability and environmental stewardship across data sharing, water efficiency, urban runoff reduction, and energy management. Don’t miss out.
And I haven’t even gotten to our great sessions on climate change, watershed protection and – new this year – the WaterNow Project Accelerator. So there’s a lot to experience. Registration is still open for the 3rd Annual WaterNow Alliance Summit in Salt Lake City on March 28-29, and some travel funding is still available if you act quickly. This summit is shaping up to be an engaging and rewarding opportunity to explore integrated and sustainable water solutions for all. I hope to see you there.