Tuesday, May 14, 2019

RiverStewards: New One Water Planning Process Can Save Municipalities Money While Improving Water Quality

On May 14, RiverStewards announced it is making available a white paper on the One Water concept that breaks down the traditional silos of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater and comes up with solutions to manage all water as one system.
The paper is based on work RiverStewards did in the Spring Creek Watershed located around State College and the University Area Joint Authority to use the One Water planning process to achieve better and more holistic water management.
The One Water concept was developed by the Water Research Foundation to “manage water resources holistically and sustainably. One Water is an integrated planning and implementation approach to managing finite water resources for long-term resilience and reliability, meeting both community and ecosystem needs.”
While better known in the western U.S., the One Water concept is slowly taking off in communities that want to save money while protecting and improving water quality and quantity.
The Spring Creek Watershed is one such community, and the white paper that RiverStewards developed takes the reader through the process they used, step by step, to engage and bring stakeholders to the table, to uncover the water-related issues that they face, to determine ways to manage all water as one, and to implement next steps to protect their watershed.
“Integrated water management breaks down the traditional silos of drinking water, stormwater, and waste water and comes up with solutions to manage all water as one system”, said Mark Gutshall, founder of RiverStewards. “Ultimately this saves a municipality or water utility time and money, which can then reduce costs for ratepayers while also improving environmental water quality. The One Water planning process is win-win for all, and that’s why RiverStewards is getting the word out about it.”
RiverStewards will distribute copies of the white paper to municipalities and water utilities as well as other interested parties over the summer and fall with the hope that others will follow the model the Spring Creek Watershed partners used to begin the One Water planning process in for their communities.
“We envision a future where more and more Pennsylvania communities look at water as a valuable resource, not something to just treat and then send downstream,” said Jessica Aiello, executive director of RiverStewards. “By incorporating some or all of the One Water concepts in their water management practices, Pennsylvania’s water quality will be improved, ultimately helping us meet our Chesapeake Bay requirements in a timelier manner.”
This work was supported by a grant from The Chesapeake Bay Trust.
RiverStewards Help
If you work for a Pennsylvania municipality or water utility and are interested in learning more about how to bring integrated water management to your constituents through the One Water method and how RiverStewards can assist you with the planning process, please contact Jessica Aiello by sending an email to: jessica@riverstewards.info.
For more information on programs, initiatives and how you can get involved, visit the RiverStewards website.
(Photo: Spring Creek.)
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