White House Water Summit focuses on collaboration
California drought, crisis in Flint prompt public, private sectors to collaborate
Events of the past few years have focused public attention on the nation’s water supplies like nothing before. Widespread drought throughout much of the nation’s western half and the crisis still affecting residents of Flint, Mich., have brought the nation’s water infrastructure to the forefront.
Last week, the White House was home to a summit coinciding with World Water Day. Administration officials were able to announce several state government and corporate pledges of investment, as well as new federal initiatives meant to combat the issues faced by the aging and deteriorating infrastructure.
The corporate commitments include a $500 million investment in water and reuse technologies by GE over the next decade and a pledge by a San Francisco-based investment firm to dedicate $1.5 billion toward “decentralized water management solutions.”
Much of the White House Water Summit was devoted to technological solutions to the nation’s water problems. Among the commitments that emerged from the day were:
- Establishment of a new water center at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that will use satellites and airborne observation to aid water planning;
- The city of Los Angeles will capture an additional 12 billion gallons of stormwater a year by 2025, more than doubling the current amount; and
- Three universities in Southern California are forming a consortium to work on ocean desalination.