Water Policy Event Aims for Integration

U.S. government officials, public and private-sector water industry professionals, representatives from the Native American community, and other interested parties and entities involved in water planning will discuss the urgency of the implementation of a Comprehensive Integrated Water Policy (CIWP) and unifying the country’s fragmented water conservation and regulatory framework at the National Water Policy Event.

The National Water Policy Event will be at 5:30 p.m. July 28 in the auditorium at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

The event, which is sponsored by The Chronicles Group, will provide information to Congress and the Obama Administration about how to preserve the nation’s water resources and tackle the issues related to raw water supply challenges as policy experts prepare to create new legislation.

“Over-consumption, climate change, and significant population growth have caused the United States to begin to experience the dire effects of water shortage. Our country’s supply of sustainable, clean drinking water is drying up, but we aren’t truly aware of the reality,” says Jim Thebaut, president of The Chronicles Group. “We can solve this crisis if the United States chooses to establish a modern, integrated national water policy framework, implements sustainable water use planning models, invests in the changes needed to pursue water resource sustainability for future generations, and provides leadership to help the rest of the world meet similar goals.”

Congressional sponsors of the water policy dialogue include U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), John Linder (R-Ga.), Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.). The evening event will follow an afternoon session with members of Congress who will discuss the development of CIWP policy with various experts – all in anticipation of creating new legislation to provide funding for fiscal year 2011 for the Executive Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) research account to study current water management programs.

Some of these programs include water-borne illnesses; national security at the state, regional, and international level; and freshwater resources and how they can meet critical municipal, industrial, agricultural, energy, and environmental needs. The legislation’s goal is to coordinate OSTP with numerous federal agencies including the Council on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency's Science and Technology Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Parasitic Diseases and Drinking Water, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other federal agencies in order to develop a comprehensive integrated water policy.

Highlights of the evening will include a screening of the Call to Action version of Thebaut’s “The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?” narrated by actress Jane Seymour, along with distinguished water leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Congressional sponsor John Linder (R-Ga.), who, for many years, has worked to recommend to Congress a comprehensive federal water policy, says, “One of the most pressing challenges of this century is preserving our fresh water. In coming years, many states will face a water crisis. We have to find ways to use water more efficiently, capture more runoff, restore broken infrastructure and reuse water multiple times before it flows to the sea. As certain regions experience increased rainfall this year, it will be easy for the importance of establishing a Comprehensive Integrated Water Policy (CIWP) to become overshadowed. Allowing that to happen would be a mistake that we cannot afford to make, and it is my hope that the July 28 event will do its part to prevent that.”

Confirmed panelists include

  • Pat Mulroy, general manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority;
  • H. David Nahai, chief executive officer and general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power;
  • Lena Fowler, former head of the Navajo Nation Water Commission, who now serves on Arizona’s Coconino County Board of Supervisors, District 5;
  • Mark Bernstein, managing director, USC Energy Institute;
  • Bradley H. Udall, director of the University of Colorado Western Water Assessment;
  • Gene Whitney, Ph.D., research manager for the Energy and Minerals Section of the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress;
  • Donald L. Smith, vice chair, MWH Global;
  • Scott S. Slater, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP; and
  • Dr. Joan Brunkard, the lead drinking water epidemiologist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vectorborne and Enteric Diseases at Centers for Disease Control.

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