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Water and Wastewater Policy Forum Considers Water Challenges in the U.S. and Abroad

Published Dec. 27, 2013
Jerry Delli Priscoli speaks at the Water and Wastewater Policy Forum, discussing perspectives on international water resources issues and policies.

Jerry Delli Priscoli speaks at the Water and Wastewater Policy Forum, discussing perspectives on international water resources issues and policies.

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.  Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Congress, City College of New York, and several non-governmental organizations spoke recently at the Water and Wastewater Policy Forum. The forum took place on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 in the U.S. Capitol to raise public awareness of critical domestic and international water and wastewater issues.

The forum’s first session focused on the international water crisis, highlighting the lack of access to drinking water and sanitation in developing nations. Institute for Water Resources (IWR) team member Jerry Delli Priscoli spoke during the first session about perspectives on international water resources issues and policies, in which he discussed global water issues and contrasted them with water issues in the U.S. He touched on the concept that water challenges are more about distribution and redistribution than scarcity, though scarcity does exist. He mentioned that different groups of people have different values and needs, which is a part of water demand as well as security.

"Managing uncertainties in water is the key to building the platforms of growth and internal security," Delli Priscoli said during his talk.

There's a relationship between good governance and water investment, he told the audience.  He mentioned that IWR correlates the human development index with water disaster damages as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

 “If you reduce the percentage of damages due to large-scale water events, it correlates very highly with human development,” he said.

Delli Priscoli also spoke during an evening segment that looked at the impending U.S. water crisis with a focus on aging water and wastewater infrastructure, drought, agricultural uses and population growth.

During that session, Mr. Steven Stockton, USACE Director of Civil Works, spoke about the issues of aging infrastructure.

 “We as a nation are living off of the investments of prior generations,” said Stockton at the forum. He discussed USACE initiatives to educate younger audiences about what water resources infrastructure means to their quality of life.

Water is the focus of the USACE Civil Works Program. For over 230 years, USACE has been entrusted with the development and stewardship of much of the nation’s public water resources. The USACE Civil Works program plans and manages water for transportation, recreation, energy, wildlife habitat, aquatic ecosystems, and water supply, while reducing the impacts of flood damages and other natural disasters.

The Institute for Water Resources is the USACE center of expertise for integrated water resources management, focusing on planning, analysis, and hydrologic engineering and on the collection, management and dissemination of Civil Works and navigation information, including the nation’s waterborne commerce data.