Water Summit Panel Urges Collaboration

Leading environmental and water management experts convened recently in Tempe, Ariz., to examine initiatives and strategies toward greater sustainability and preservation of Earth' s water supply as part of Rain Bird' s ninth Intelligent Use of Water Summit.

Held at Arizona State University' s (ASU) Global Institute of Sustainability, in partnership with Rain Bird Corp., the two-hour symposium provided an opportunity for thought leaders to engage in an open-forum discussion about global water-management programs, policies, initiatives, trends, and strategies relating to water availability issues in the American Southwest and beyond.

John D' Anna, senior editor for The Arizona Republic, moderated the forum that featured a panel of experts in water management, policy, infrastructure, and sustainability.

Each panelist stressed the need for civic and business leaders to collaborate on the development and implementation of water conservation policies and the importance of implementing policies, legislation, and programs aimed at modifying public behavior. "Perception of water use is quite different from the facts," said panelist Doug Bennett, Water Conservation manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority. "This has to be a collaborative effort among the public and private sector."

"Rapid urbanization and a diminished water supply has made central Arizona the ' canary in the coal mine' when it comes to water-scarcity issues," said Charles Redman, director of the School of Sustainability. "It is an issue that is fraught with complexity and the solution needs to be one that properly balances the limited usable fresh water supply with the needs of a growing society."

"Clearly, we need to implement policies that will guide the future growth of society in relation to the available water supply," added panelist Jim Holway, professor of practice in Civil and Environmental Engineering at ASU' s School of Sustainability.

When asked about the need to implement realistic pricing scenarios for water use, panelist Richard Little, director, The Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, University of Southern California added, "Water consumption monitoring programs ultimately achieve neither cost-effectiveness nor meaningful water savings, while appropriate water pricing offers an opportunity to augment various conservation programs as a way of encouraging water conservation. Until we can bolster the link between the value of water and the price paid for consumption, it will be very difficult to drive significant change in consumer behavior as it relates to using water more efficiently."

A detailed recap of each panelist' s presentation is available for download in PDF format at www.rainbird.com.

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