Posted on Jul 13, 2021

EcoEducation: One Water Approach: A Sustainable Water Future for All

To kick off our year long focus on water we heard from Morgan Brown from US Water Alliance and their One Water Approach.  Water is People.  
The idea of One Water is that management requires us to break down silos in how water is used or experienced.  There is drinking water, waste water, storm water, river and lake water, ground water, and precipitation and all of these have value.  
Water is a growing area of interest for many due to recent issues such as aging infrastructure (e.g. Flint Michigan), water pollution, and climate stress (storms, floods, drought).  
In the One Water approach the alliance is seeking solutions that have multiple benefits (e.g. economic and environmental).  It seeks to transcend the constraints of political boundaries and supplant it with the scale of natural watersheds.  The thinking of One Water requires a systems approach and also strives for solutions to be right sized to the particular issue.  And since water affects everyone and solutions must be inclusive and engage everyone. 
Some key silos that must be integrated and thought of as a system are our water utilities, our cities, business and industry, agriculture, and citizenry.  
We heard some great examples of how these silos are helping to address water health -  we heard an example of utilities pulling nutrients out of water to use as fertilizer, Dupont working with its local government to reuse its water, saving the city 1.3 billion gallons annually, farmers working together on solutions to keep nutrients out of watersheds.  Now how do we breakdown the silos and work as one system one water.