Infrastructure Week 2017: Water Leaders Focusing on Sustainability and Innovation
By Cindy Wallis-Lage, President of Black & Veatch's Water business
Models of innovation around the world demonstrate what is possible when leaders stand up for the health of our water infrastructure. They drive change in their organizations. They champion long-term system viability to customers who may not thoroughly understand what’s at stake. They unite diverse groups of stakeholders to move together toward more resilient and sustainable systems.
Infrastructure Week 2017 gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the utility leaders whose drive toward a sustainable water future remains constant. It is also a time to consider the health of our systems and critically examine the balance between what we pay for water and the true cost of its delivery.
On June 6, Black & Veatch will release our 2017 Strategic Directions: Water Industry Report, offering detailed analysis of trends in water technology, financing, safety and other issues. The report, based on our annual survey of industry leaders, reveals that sustainability remains the industry's overarching goal. It reflects the pursuit of sustainable water supplies in the face of changing demographics and climate. It demonstrates efforts to balance system and user needs with available capital.
And our report finds the industry focused on social sustainability through deeper relationships with customers -- a compact that is critical to blending the cost of water delivery and customer expectation.
Readers of the report will learn more about:
- The shifting financial challenges associated with sustainable water systems.
- The rising role of asset management as an important tool for extending the life of critical infrastructure.
- The power of data to transform our systems and make them more cost-efficient, resilient and safe.
- The increasing importance of customer engagement and education, particularly as utilities craft rate cases.
Our survey data suggests industry leaders are taking bold steps to secure and enhance our world's finite supply of water. How we manage this precious resource could prove to be the most important science of tomorrow. From the technical details of treatment and transport to the visions that will finance and ensure resilience, this science will demand practitioners who can empower innovation, while reaching across every aisle to positively engage the public, the politicians and regulators.
Only with these key stakeholders working in tandem can we seize the opportunity to achieve truly sustainable infrastructure.