Human development creates opportunities but, when poorly planned, conducted or managed, it can lead to effects that endanger public health and safety, cause damage and reduce quality of life. The growing problem of inadequate stormwater management is a case in point.
Much of the more than 100 million acres of developed land in the United States is covered by surfaces that do not absorb moisture (e.g., streets, rooftops, driveways, etc.). This greatly increases the amount of stormwater runoff, which overwhelms drainage and sewer systems, floods downstream properties, erodes streams and sends a multitude of heavy metals, pesticides oil, and other pollutants into rivers, bays and reservoirs. The growing number and intensity of storms that are occurring and the amount of runoff they trigger, are straining the ability of the nation’s aging water control infrastructure — much of which was built before 1990 — to divert or contain these flows.
Meanwhile, across the country, jurisdictions are struggling to balance the need to invest in strategies to preserve water quality and calls to spend limited government funds on other pressing public infrastructure needs. This is no more evident than in the stormwater, drinking water and wastewater management sectors. The nation’s failure to commit to significant and sustained investment in water management systems has created substantial capital improvement, operations and maintenance challenges across the country for all water systems, especially stormwater infrastructure.
Recognizing this troubling state of affairs, the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP), on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with funding from the Chesapeake Bay Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Grant Program, will convene a unique Integrated Water and Stormwater Management Symposium on Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C.
This milestone event will bring together practitioners and experts from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to identify and highlight the challenges to building and modernizing stormwater and water infrastructure with a focus on integrated development, public-private partnerships, and other alternative delivery models that emphasize community development and participation.
Topics to be addressed during the symposium include:
- An examination of the current state of stormwater and water infrastructure
- An exploration of success stories, such as EPA Region 3’s highly effective, Community-Based Public-Private Partnership projects, which addresses stormwater management challenges while providing jobs and improving local economic conditions
- A discussion of integrated development approaches and other ways public-private partnerships can play in improving the state of stormwater and waterinfrastructure, including
- System funding
- Capacity enhancement
- Technological innovations
- Project delivery
- Future needs
- Proprietary studies and research key players in the stormwater and integrated water management arenas are conducting:
- The Water Environment Federation’s National Survey
- The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance’s recently released State of Stormwater Report, which the alliance and its members compile to provide a snapshot of overall MS4 NPDES program implementation, current regulatory issues in participating states, and a general estimate of the trend and overall quality of states’ receiving waters
- American Society of Civil Engineers’ proposal to develop of a stormwater “report card,” modeled on its highly influential Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which sums up the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.
If your community is grappling with these stormwater and other water management issues or you have proven or potential solutions, NCPPP would like you to join in this wide-ranging set of presentations and discussions of where we are now and help chart and achieve future progress.