Coalition Building and Ikea – The Water Sector in the 21st Century?

ikea_coalitionDon’t laugh, it has taken me until almost 40 years old to have to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture.  For most of you, you are smirking and trying to remember where you put that tiny Allen Wrench you get free with every Ikea purchase.  As I was cursing my way through box five of seven of my home improvement adventure, I realized that the first of the direction drawings could be interpreted as “don’t try this alone.”  I would need help, a coalition really, of like-minded individuals (or ones that I could tempt with beer and pizza) to achieve my goal.

Right now, the water sector has also realized that it takes a village as well, and in the past few years, we have seen different Associations, municipalities and private entities join together toward common goals.  There are many examples of collaborative coalition building in the water arena, but here are a few new works in progress:

  • Water Week 2014: Most of the water sector associations have an advocacy day here in D.C.  This year, NACWA, the Water Environment Association, the Water Environment Research Foundation, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the U.S. Water Alliance have coordinated their efforts to meet the week of April 7 for the first annual Water Week.
  • Water Blues – Green Solutions: NACWA, Subaru, and Colcom partnered with Penn State Public Media on this initiative which features the integration of a feature-length, nationally distributed documentary – along with online and community outreach.  With a focus on green infrastructure, the documentary explores sustainable sites, conservation, and the integration of man-made systems with natural systems.
  • Congressional Clean Water Caucus: This newly-formed bipartisan Caucus, chaired by Representatives John Duncan (R-TN) and Timothy Bishop (D-NY), will spotlight issues inspired by the Water Resources Utility of the Future (UOTF) initiative, with a focus on cutting-edge technologies and innovative techniques and approaches in the clean water sector.
  • The Value of Water Coalition: This active coalition of 12 public and private organizations in the water sector has set out to inform the public about the important ways that water . . . connects us, grows jobs and opportunity, keeps us safe and healthy, and sustains our environment.

While working together can be challenging (just ask my friends that helped me with furniture assembly), it can also be worthwhile.  Perhaps it is only through working together that we can achieve the common goal of clean and safe water for future generations.

What do you think?  Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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