New report examines water security in U.S. water-scarce regions

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RACINE, WI, May 21, 2014 -- According to a Charting New Waters report released by The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread on Tuesday, May 20, water and wastewater industry leaders are implored to develop a persuasive story about the potential severity of future water shortages, the consequences of a business-as-usual approach to water supply and demand planning, and the benefits of new water supply options.

"Ensuring Urban Water Security in Water-Scarce Regions of the United States" is the product of a meeting convened by The Johnson Foundation, which brought together a group of experts to examine the implications that water scarcity has for the nation's water infrastructure.

"We have learned that new ideas emerge when we bring together experts with different experiences and perspectives," said Lynn Broaddus, director of the environment program at The Johnson Foundation. "Getting out ahead of our water security challenges and achieving long-term sustainability of the nation's water resources in the face of climate change, energy constraints, diminishing groundwater supplies, financial challenges, and other resource constraints is going to take a comprehensive and cross-sector approach to the issue."

In order to help urban water managers and other decision makers evaluate the available alternatives and invest in those that are most likely to result in a sustainable and resilient water supply, the report recommends a common set of principles for water security that can serve as a filter when evaluating options, including:

  • Pursuing efficiency and conservation first
  • Developing a diverse supply portfolio
  • Accounting for climate variability in long-term planning
  • Investing in local water sources

Alongside the report, The Johnson Foundation invited four participants to contribute additional thoughts to its new online dialogue, Inspiring Solutions -- a forum to convene, share ideas and find innovative solutions with sustained impact.

Inspiring Solutions features responses from Dick Luthy, director of ReNUWIt; Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency; Jay Jensen, associate director of land and water at the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO of Alliance for Water Efficiency; Albert Cho, vice president of strategy and business development at Xylem Inc; and Cynthia Lane, director of engineering & technical services at American Water Works Association.

The dialogue and report are part of Charting New Waters, a Johnson Foundation initiative bringing together experts to examine freshwater challenges, successes, innovations, and potential solutions that can bridge geographies and inform national policy.

Spearheaded by the Foundation for the past six years, Charting New Waters is the work of a diverse group of leaders from business, agriculture, academia, and environmental organizations that have publicly committed to improving U.S. freshwater resources by advancing the principles and recommendations of the group.

These recommendations were captured in a consensus report: "Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater Challenges" issued in Sept. 2010.

See also: "Partnership explores water security in water-scarce U.S. regions"


About Johnson Foundation at Wingspread

The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for change by bringing together leading thinkers and inspiring new solutions on major environmental and regional issues.  For additional information about Charting New Waters, or to learn more about The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, please visit www.johnsonfdn.org.

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