Tapping Into Solutions: The Future of Water
The Environmental Leadership Program's annual conference.
The conference aims to create a dialog between leaders in these sectors and explore their future technical and leadership needs. By bringing together a diverse group of engineers, lawyers, social scientists, and planners from each of these sectors the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) and the Switzer Foundation Fellowship Network will work together to forge solutions. This conference will explore and debate these complex water issues, identify the leadership needed to manage the resource, and offer a framework to illuminate potential solutions at a national conference in Milwaukee.
Water is critical to our lives and livelihoods in countless ways. Sustainability and access to water are complex issues that intersect with many disciplines and any discussion about climate change, economic development, equity and social justice. Climate change and adaptation adds yet a new dimension to the exploration of water solutions. New thinking, new leaders, and innovation will be critical to reducing conflict and ensuring the availability of safe and adequate water supplies while creating new economic opportunities fostering growth in green jobs. Tapping into Solutions will engage panelists from each sector and the audience in interactive and integrative discussions related to water and climate change, sustainable infrastructure, the nexus between water and energy, and other topics focused on:
- Quality -- In many areas of the United States and the world, water quality has improved dramatically over the past decades resulting from regulation of point-source pollution, but significant challenges remain to maintain drinking water quality and protect and enhance clean water sources from non-point sources.
- Quantity -- Local communities, States, and regions, face many challenges as they attempt to balance water needs for multiple and often competing uses. Since watershed boundaries rarely mimic political boundaries, trans-boundary water resource management is becoming an increasingly important diplomatic aspect of dealing with water issues.
- Access -- Society grapples with the question of who owns the water and who is entitled to it and at what cost. Aligning needs with access and protecting critical ecosystems requires exploration of both the ethical and legal framework associated with access to water.
Each panel discussion will explore and forge solutions and present our findings at the end of the program. Across the country, the creative ideas of individuals and institutions are a testament to ingenuity and dedication in the water sector to find solutions to these complex problems. Tapping into Solutions will help participants identify opportunities for public leadership in their institutions and communities and encourage attendees to dream big, think abstractly about solutions, and take the calculated risks necessary to implement positive change.