Water systems are like puzzles. They are made up of smaller pieces (subsystems) that when put together make a complete system. Like puzzle pieces, a change in one sub-system affects the composition of the whole picture. For example, minor changes in water quality may impact the integrity of water pipes. During a heavy rainstorm, pollutants are washed into rivers and lakes that serve as our drinking water supply. The more polluted they become, the more treatment is needed to ensure that the water is safe for us to drink. One way to ensure the water is delivered safely to our homes is to treat it with chlorine to kill any harmful bacteria or pathogens present in the pipes. High levels of chlorine may cause pipes to break down, introducing potential heavy metals like lead into our drinking water as well as increasing the need to replace those pipes. By reducing the amount of pollution on our land (e.g. picking up dog waste) can reduce the amount of bacteria entering the system in the first place and prevent additional costs and disruption. This workshop will introduce a decision-making tool that helps you see the bigger picture by identifying the connections and potential interactions between water subsystems. You will hear real-world examples about what worked in other places, learn about funding opportunities, and brainstorm ways to improve the way we think about and use water.
Dr. Jennifer Biddle, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jamal Kadri, Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jim Gebhardt, Director of Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Karen Wirth, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Specialist in Office of Ground Water Drinking Water
George Hawkins, DC Water, General Manager
Wendi Wilkes, American Water Works Association, Public Affairs Specialist