This editorial letter originally appeared in Storm Water Solutions February 2020 issue as "New Year, New Plans"
As we embark on 2020, I’m excited to see where the storm water and erosion control industries go. In 2019, we saw an unprecedented amount of rain, which kept our industry busy. Predictions say 2020 will be similar, and I am eager to see how our industry will adapt and innovate in response.
Despite changes at the federal level, states are forging ahead. Take Ohio, for example. H2Ohio, an initiative by Gov. Mike DeWine, is a data-driven approach to ensure safe and clean drinking water for residents. In Maryland, senators have allocated $38.4 million for water infrastructure projects, and in New York City, a mitigation bank, the first of its kind for the city, is helping to restore 54 acres of wetlands.
And, while these plans are being put into action by governing bodies, citizens are doing their part too. Recently, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and came across an exhibit called “Water After All” that is inspired by John Akomfrah’s "Vertigo Sea." The exhibit offers a lot of reflection time: an entire wall is dedicated to Flint, Michigan, with 232 water bottles full of contaminated tap water, blue flags from community activists hang from the ceiling, and a table with books related to water sits in the center with bookmarks and pencils, so people can mark passages they want others to read.
Maybe more than ever, people are realizing the importance of water. As one of my favorite quotes (from Natalie Diaz, poet and activist) at the exhibit states, “How can I translate–not in words but in belief –that a river is a body, as alive as you or I, that there can be no life without?”