NEW REPORTS: Innovation in action: 21st century water infrastructure solutions; Funding a future for water in the San Joaquin Valley; Water Smart housing development; Closing the water access gap in the United States

Innovation in Action: 21st Century Water Infrastructure Solutions

From the Water Now Alliance:

Innovation in Action: 21st Century Water Infrastructure Solutions,” is a  WaterNow Alliance paper that outlines innovative pathways to a sustainable water future. It reviews state-of-the-art advancements in local water management, and examines forward-thinking strategies that are addressing drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater issues in cities and counties across the country and making them more resilient.

This paper examines 13 programs in 12 cities and 9 states and finds noteworthy gains in each test case from investments in smart, efficient distributed water infrastructure. Our analysis shows that a new set of strategies – onsite, localized and distributed across communities – to be viable, sustainable, affordable and equitable solutions to water management challenges.

Click here to download the report.

Funding a future for water in the San Joaquin Valley

From the California Water Institute:

For all of California’s problems with surface and groundwater, the one not receiving the attention it arguably deserves is the problem of funding for new infrastructure, as well as the ongoing maintenance of existing infrastructure, much of which is now old and decaying.  Nationwide, the American Water Works Association estimates that an investment of about $1 trillion in infrastructure is needed by 2035 to make sure that Americans have access to clean drinking water (Thompson 2015).  Just achieving this in California alone would require spending approximately $30 to $160 million more a year on infrastructure, which, along with flood control and ecosystem preservation, are believed to be more poorly funded than water storage infrastructure (Hanak et al. 2014).

Where will the necessary funding come from to develop, upgrade, expand, and refurbish the water infrastructure systems in the San Joaquin Valley?

Read the California Water Institute’s first in a series of reports about funding options and strategies for water infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.  This first report, “Funding a Future for Water in the San Joaquin Valley: A Literature Review of Public Funding For Water Infrastructure” is available for review by clicking here. Special thanks to Professor Holyoke and his students in Fresno State’s College of Social Sciences for conducting this initial research effort.  We would also like to thank the generous contributions of our anonymous donor that graciously provided funding for this important work.  Stay tuned for the next reports.

Solutions to regional effort can only be made with regional input, we would like to hear your opinion! Please send any comments and or suggestions to this report to waterandsustainability@mail.fresnostate.edu.

Click here to download this report.

Water Smart Housing Development: Addressing Sprawl and Affordability Concerns through Water and Land Use Integration

From the Local Government Commission:

As California communities grow and build housing to meet increasing demand, where and how we choose to build has significant implications for our natural resources, particularly our water.

California is in the midst of a housing crisis. There are simply not enough homes for the state’s growing population. In total, the state is estimated to have a housing gap of approximately 3.5 million homes through 2025. California is not currently keeping up with the pace needed to accommodate our expected population growth of 4 million residents by 2030. While developers and planners throughout the state are attempting to provide housing to serve the growth, experts are weighing in on other housing-related factors such as climate change, sprawl, social inequity, and access to resources.Simultaneously, disparities in water access are closely intertwined with the housing affordability crisis.

Click here to download this short report.

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan

From the US Water Alliance:

Over the last three years, the US Water Alliance has been on a journey to understand how water systems affect vulnerable people and to advance more equitable water management practices. We developed a national framework and highlighted promising practices. Building on that framework, we launched the Seven-City Water Equity Taskforce, an initiative that brings together utilities and community leaders to collaboratively respond to challenges like aging infrastructure, affordability, workforce inclusion, and water quality.

In response this challenge, the US Water Alliance has produced the most comprehensive report to date on the water access challenge, using data analysis and on-the-ground research to understand the numbers and accelerate promising solutions. We were proud to team up with DigDeep, an organization that won the US Water Prize in 2018 for their success in bringing water service to hundreds of families on the Navajo Nation, and with researchers at Michigan State University. And, as with everything we do, we brought in a circle of partners. We formed a National Advisory Council of leaders from sectors including water, equity, technology, and community development to guide our work.

Through this research, we found that more than two million Americans live without access to running water, indoor plumbing, and safe sanitation. Federal data doesn’t accurately measure the challenge, and data collection has been cut back in recent years. We found that communities of color are more likely to lack water access than white communities, and that the disparity is particularly extreme for Native Americans. Poverty is also a key barrier to water access. These challenges are the result of historical and geographical factors that have left entire communities without adequate services.

Click here to download the report.

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