In his fifth State of the Union address last night, President Obama reaffirmed an ongoing commitment to pursue administrative action on climate change issues. The President emphasized the need to act with urgency, noting that communities across the country are already facing the impacts of climate change through droughts, floods and other extreme weather events.
Although the important role of clean water agencies in managing 21st century water challenges, including climate and resiliency issues, was largely absent from this speech, NACWA will ensure that the voice of the clean water community is front and center of any national effort to address the effects of climate change and ensure the resiliency of our communities. As more and more climate-related extreme weather events occur, the nation’s clean water agencies are becoming key first responders protecting public health and water quality, and providing uninterrupted service to communities across the country.
While the President works to develop and enact portions of his Climate Action Plan and November 2013 Executive Order on climate change preparedness, NACWA and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) are collaborating on a Water Resilience Summit during Water Week 2014 with input from the Environmental Protection Agency and other key federal agency stakeholders. As the Administration ramps up its efforts on climate, the timely, invitation-only Summit will bring together a select number of key municipal, state, federal and industry leaders to explore the climate resilience challenges facing water and wastewater utilities across the country and develop viable collaborative approaches and solutions to these challenges.
Public agencies need strong state and federal support to ensure they have the tools and resources needed to maximize their resilience. NACWA is committed to working with the Administration through the Summit and other regulatory and legislative efforts on climate issues.
These efforts also exemplify key steps toward achieving the objectives that are part of the collaborative Water Resources Utility of the Future initiative. To the extent any readers of this blog have thoughts on key issues that should be raised as part of the Water Resilience Summit in April please feel free to share them in the comments below.