Water research agencies produce new study for 'One Water' management
The Water Research Foundation announced the completion of a study -- conducted with Water Environment Research Foundation and Water Research Australia -- that's focused on helping utilities successfully transition into an integrated water, or 'One Water,' management approach.
DENVER, CO, Aug. 18, 2015 -- Today, the Water Research Foundation (WRF), a sponsor of research supporting the water community, announced the completion of a study -- conducted with Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and Water Research Australia (WRA) -- that's focused on helping utilities successfully transition into an integrated water, or 'One Water,' management approach.
Water utilities are working in increasingly diverse landscapes that present a multitude of unique institutional and societal barriers to adopting an integrated water management approach. While effective once firmly in place, transitioning to a One Water approach has historically presented challenges to urban water planners and policymakers alike.
The research in "Institutional Issues for One Water Management (Project #4487)" supports that a One Water approach can be effectively employed to address a multitude of confounding factors and align them through workable institutional arrangements and management. The project uses a collection of case studies to identify the transitional challenges others have faced and how to navigate through those challenges to best support actionable next steps.
"The water landscape we live and work in today is quite different than 50 years ago," said Rob Renner, WRF executive director. "Our goal in partnering with WERF and [WRA] on this project was to provide practical examples of how agencies and communities can, and have, worked through barriers to practice a more integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management. The shift in the water community demands greater understanding and support for this type of transition, and our agencies are aligned in delivering on that need for our community members."
The project resulted in a final report, a guidebook to help utilities apply research findings and best practices, and a collection of three in-depth case studies and 25 snapshot case studies. The report and guidebook:
- Document challenges encountered by local governments, water utilities, urban planners, and regulators in transitioning to a One Water, integrated water management approach
- Provide a framework for decision makers, practitioners and planners to identify potential enabling actions for overcoming these challenges
- Include recommendations that water associations can take in order to create a conducive environment to encourage and provide a smoother transition to a One Water approach
The case studies provide practical examples of how agencies and communities worked through institutional barriers so they could practice a more integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management. Likewise, they looked at initiatives and interactions between different levels of government, private entities, NGOs, and citizens across a range of institutional barriers. All materials are available on the WRF website (here).
In addition to tactical efficiency, the case studies indicate that strong leadership and vision from senior level personnel, as well as collective transparency around processes and information sharing are key to driving an integrated water management approach. Interlinked cross-industry initiatives were also suggested that could be taken by the urban planning and water service sectors to further transition to a One Water paradigm.
About the Water Research Foundation
The Water Research Foundation is an internationally recognized leader in sponsoring research that supports the water community in holistically and cooperatively managing water from all sources to meet social, environmental, and economic needs. WRF’s research provides reliable and relevant solutions to the most critical challenges facing the water community today and into the future. Founded in 1966, WRF is a 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization that has sponsored nearly 1,500 research projects valued at $500 million, and serves more than 1,000 subscribing organizations. For more information, visit www.WaterRF.org.