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Stormwater Professionals Identify Research, Programs, and Policies to Advance Reuse

Date: September 24, 2021

By Aliza Furneaux

Experts on stormwater capture and use from across the nation came together in September at the Johnson Foundation’s Wingspread facility in Wisconsin to discuss “Catalyzing Stormwater Capture and Use: Focusing Opportunities and Overcoming Barriers.” The goal of the convening was to advance the adoption of stormwater capture and use as a tool for water managers facing a myriad of challenges including drought, flooding, nutrient management, and water supply stress.

Workshop participants represented each region of the U.S. and came from diverse sectors that ranged from public utilities, engineering consultants, and private industry to community organizers and regulators. WateReuse member participants included California State Water Resources Control Board, Fairfax County, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Monterey One Water, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority.

Presentations, Breakouts, and Solutions

The three-day workshop included presentations on stormwater harvesting drivers and motivations, capture and use national potential, cost-effective capture solutions, regulatory challenges of capture and use, and public trust and understanding. The participants moved through a series of breakout room discussions focused on identifying challenges and knowledge gaps for funding and financing, regulations and policy, and communications, outreach, and partnerships.

Following the initial information sharing and brainstorming sessions, discussions turned to identifying potential solutions and specific needs through the lenses of stormwater characteristics and treatment standards, technology effectiveness and needs, and integration across water sectors, scales, and organizations. By the final day, the group identified key research, programs, case studies, and needs for advancing urban stormwater capture and use. In a last facilitated group discussion, each expert shared next steps or action items they would like to see come out of the convening.

Findings and Recommendations

The U.S EPA will develop a summary report detailing the findings and recommendations from the convening including all the examples and program materials shared.

The event was sponsored by the WateReuse Association, Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWit), National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

The convening completed milestone 10 of the National Water Reuse Action Plan Action 3.3. If you are interested in learning more about the WRAP or additional WRAP actions WateReuse leads or supports, please contact Aliza Furneaux.

Aliza Furneaux is Policy and Program Manager, WateReuse Association

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