This week, SWS attended the 2014 Chicago Water Summit, the focus of which was "Global Lessons from Great Water Cities." The summit took place on Monday, July 21, 2014, on the 80th floor of the third tallest building in Chicago, and was broken into several panel discussions as well as supporting keynotes.
The four panels each covered a practice that a Great Water City should work to incorporate: sustainability, innovation, investment in the future and public-private partnerships. Panel participants ranged from water district managers to company presidents to regulatory officials. Challenges discussed included many that will be familiar to SWS readers: funding, regulations, institutional barriers like political machines, aging infrastructure and how to move to a more centralized system of "one water."
One less-known challenge cited by a water district manager was what he termed the "race to be second," in which no one wants to be the first to try out a new, unproven technology. But the technology may not be unproven, just unfamiliar to you; another utility or facility may have tried it and had great results.
One resource for learning about others' success stories is the SWS September Case Book, the third annual edition of which will launch this fall. Check out the 2012 and 2013 archives if you missed them, and look for the 2014 edition in September.