More than 150 institutions have announced plans to boost U.S. water infrastructure in collaboration with the Obama administration’s efforts to address water challenges. The initiatives, which include nearly $5 billion in private funds for projects and research and development nationwide, were announced at a water summit held at the White House on March 22.
Some of the largest private commitments include $500 million from the General Electric Co. and $300 million from Xylem investments for water infrastructure technologies.
The White House also announced that it is forming an interagency partnership to coordinate federal drought resilience, response and recovery efforts.
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren on March 21 told reporters the meeting aimed to draw attention to the need for more sustainability in the water sector. Recent events, such as the drinking-water crisis in Flint, Mich., and droughts in the western U.S., “have elevated a national dialogue on the state of our nation’s water resources and infrastructure,” Holdren said.
Among the programs announced, Anchorage is embarking on infrastructure improvements at a new $300-million power-generation facility that will capture waste heat and apply it to water, thus reducing water-heating requirements in homes and buildings.
The North Bay Water Reuse Authority in California—which includes Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties and water and sanitation agencies in the region—said it plans to develop a $250-million portfolio of recycled-water and water-management infrastructure projects that could include small reservoirs, distribution systems and groundwater-management facilities.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Water Alliance said they will establish a task force to accelerate the development of decentralized water-reuse projects in buildings, neighborhoods and communities. The panel will foster collaborations among state water utilities and public health agencies to establish water-reuse standards and practices.