1. Listen to these 6 words of water wisdom.
Here are some of the best bits of advice, culture building and strategy we heard at a recent water conference.
“No water. No coffee. No water. No beer. No water. No wine,” joked AWWA CEO David LaFrance, but the elemental truth of it can’t be escaped.
“Can you imagine an urban society that doesn’t exist without clean water?” added Sue McCormick with Great Lakes Water Authority later in the program. She answered her own question with: Of course not.
2. Put down the raw water and turn on the tap.
The raw water trend is all over the news. It’s a top hot thing of 2018—drinking unfiltered water straight from a spring (though sometimes diverted through a bottling plant and available in stores for nearly $20 a pop).
It’s a trend that would make John Snow roll over in his grave. (No, not “Game of Thrones” Jon Snow. Read on.)
The real-life John Snow was the father of a major component of the modern water system as we know it, though perhaps not in a way most people would immediately recognize.
But let’s start at the beginning.
3. Tap your way to the future.
The last couple of years in the U.S. water sector overall has seen a lot of discussion about drinking water—especially because of the problems in Flint, Michigan.
“An important place to start is this conversation is how well we actually do drinking water in America,” said Peter Grevatt, Director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to an audience at the American Water Works Association’s annual conference. “And how much pride we should all have in the quality of the water we serve up across the states.”
“That may not be what’s in the nightly news,” he continued. “But that’s really what we see in the U.S.”
4. Craft the right data/water balance.
We’ve all heard about the energy-water nexus—how energy is required to make water usable and how water is required to make power work. The energy-water nexus is an important one, but it’s not the only nexus in the utilities mix. There’s another that we are beginning to talk about more and more—how much data is increasingly required whether you’re making power or cleaning and moving usable water (or moving gas, too).
We’re calling this the utility-data nexus (because we’re not creative enough to find an entirely new name).
5. Put your customer first.
All utilities wrestle with customer communication issues. It’s a new world for this industry, but we’re all getting better at the task. At American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) annual conference, one session tackled how well water utilities, specifically, are working to put together best practices for these important communiques.