My last essay looked at how finding the path to “blue growth” has become essential to the on-going development of our economies. But why are so many of our cities and economies exposed to water-related risks? What are the hurdles? Read More
Chicago and New York “invest in innovation” to preserve water infrastructure
Community health and economic vitality rely on efficient, reliable water and wastewater systems. Yet many U.S. communities are not keeping their systems functioning well, which will eventually result in higher costs for maintenance, operations and repairs. Fortunately, two of the biggest U.S. cities, Chicago and New York, are taking the innovative steps necessary to keep their systems efficient well into the future.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a significant increase to rates in order to fund water and sewer projects. It’s a difficult political decision, but the reality is that much of Chicago’s infrastructure was laid more than a hundred years ago. The expected change in rates is expected to yield more than a billion dollars to fund future improvements. It’s also expected to generate 18,000 jobs. Modernizing the system will have other benefits, including reducing the amount of water lost through leaks. It will also increase the City’s ability to handle strong storms, which put stress on stormwater infrastructure. When all is said and done, the program will be one of Chicago’s largest infrastructure investments.
[aside]SEE ALSO: The Value of Water in the U.S.: Improving Water Infrastructure is Imperative
New York has long been known for its high water quality and is a world leader in the water industry. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently utilized a new model to improve public water services by combining the skills of a public workforce with private sector experts to implement best practices in a performance based contract.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has completed the first phase of its OpX (Operational Excellence) program with Veolia Water. The first phase of OpX was a six-month, system-wide operations analysis designed to help make DEP the nation’s safest, most effective, cost-efficient, and transparent water utility. DEP has now selected Veolia to help the agency implement a four-year program that the two organizations believe will deliver annual financial benefits representing up to 10 percent of the agency’s operating budget by 2016. The recommended improvements are projected to yield over $100 million annually by 2016.
When water is managed effectively, it benefits us all. Chicago and New York are leading the way to a culture of innovation in the water sector.
Just how important is the nexus between water and the economy?
From the recent drought to the needs of a growing society, water is now a pressing issue that impacts our economy and way of life. Just how important is the nexus between water and the economy?
On September 18, 2012, a panel of experts from a number of fields gathered in National Geographic’s
Washington DC headquarters to answer this question. Read More
Earlier this year, the United States National Park Service approved the Grand Canyon National Park’s bold decision to ban sales of bottled water within park limits
. To some people, it might sound like a radical measure, but the park is actually just one of a growing number of institutions -- most recently including the University of Vermont -- that are considering bottled water bans in favor of water filling stations
. Read More