Forum explores responses for sustainable water infrastructure

EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman is convening a group of business, government, and other experts to exchange information and views on sustainable management and financing of the nation's water infrastructure.

Jan. 31, 2003 -- EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman is convening a group of business, government, and other experts to exchange information and views on sustainable management and financing of the nation's water infrastructure.

The one-day forum will be held in Washington, D.C. on January 31, 2003. The event is unprecedented because of the unusually diverse background, expertise, and views of the experts expected to participate.

The integrity of the nation's water infrastructure is critical to public health, environmental quality, and economic vitality across the country. This forum will focus on the challenges faced by water suppliers and wastewater managers in a time of many competing demands on public resources and growing needs for infrastructure replacement, improvement, expansion, and security.

The experts will consider innovative methods to ensure maximum efficiency in water resources and water infrastructure management, as well as reliable, sustainable financing.

Providing for a sustainable water infrastructure is everybody's business. The Administrator has therefore invited experts including the following:

* Corporate executives with experience in facing water infrastructure challenges.
American industry relies on adequate, affordable supplies of clean water. For that reason, U.S. businesses have invested billions of dollars in the development of cutting edge water treatment and water re-use technologies.

* State officials who oversee clean water and safe drinking water programs, including infrastructure finance programs, to support the needs of their communities. Many States are working to become more effective and efficient in their regulatory and assistance programs to ensure protection of public health and the environment.

* Local officials, both elected and appointed, who are on the front line in delivering clean and safe water to our homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses.
These are the people who manage our water and wastewater systems, meeting the daily need for repairs, replacement, and expansion to address new environmental, health, and security demands, as well as population growth.

* International experts to provide insights into how other nations are addressing water sustainability.
The United States is not alone in facing infrastructure challenges. The challenge is global, and we can learn from others' experience with sustainable management and financing.

* Private-sector investors who may venture into public-private partnerships to provide needed investment in water infrastructure.
Experts in finance can discuss financing strategies and how the private sector can work with governments to meet the infrastructure needs that are critical to our economic well-being.

* Experts from academia, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations who have studied the infrastructure challenges and its possible solutions.
New studies on the sustainability of our water infrastructure suggest that innovation and public understanding are essential for clean, safe water in the long run. Innovative approaches to water resources management can improve our efficiency and help keep costs low.

The forum will be composed primarily of two moderated expert panels who will offer their insights, and discuss future directions. The audience will have an opportunity to provide questions to be discussed by the experts.

Forum agenda information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/water/agenda.html.

To assist in making arrangements for the number of attendees, please send an e-mail to closingthegap@cadmusgroup.com with the name, title, and organization of each person attending. Seating is limited to 300 people.

For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/water/gap_forum.html.

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