State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011DC133B
Title: Metropolitan Washington Public Officials Water Leadership Program
Project Type: Information Transfer
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/28/2012
Congressional District: DC
Focus Categories: Education, Management and Planning, Water Quality
Keywords: Local water issues, Professional development, Leadership training
Principal Investigators: Ways, Howard; Shrier, Catherine
Federal Funds: $ 12,452
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 26,967
Abstract: Area water providers and governments have elected or appointed new leadership who will be faced with several critical decisions on water-related issues including:

Area water and wastewater service providers, agencies, and policymakers have also expressed a strong interest in developing the District of Columbia as a "green city" providing leading programs on green urban infrastructure, while redefining the meaning of the word "green" and "sustainability" within the context of a economically and ethnically diverse urban area. There have also been increasing efforts to address water-related issues on a regional or watershed basis, involving coordination and collaboration among multiple municipalities and local governments, water and wastewater service providers, and with other stakeholders, including federal agencies, water advocacy organizations, and business sectors.

Many of the area water organizations have new public officials in key decision making roles, including appointed water and sewer board officials at DC Water and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission; new elected officials in DC City Council and Mayor's Office and other communities in the Metropolitan Area, with new appointed staff supporting those elected officials. While education programs often focus on school-aged children, universities, or a "general public" audience, the development of effective water education programs for public officials - outside of the context of supporters or detractors of specific policies and projects - is not widely addressed. As new public officials step into leadership roles on water-related decisions, there is a need to communicate and build an understanding of current physical, natural, and political "infrastructure" and organizational cultures that govern how water is managed and protected; emerging issues and potential ways to address those issues. Particularly as water utilities, water agencies and other municipal, regional, and federal agencies are encouraged to work in a more collaborative manner, it is critical to provide public officials with an opportunity to gain a common understanding of water issues facing the region, and to network with each other and work together to explore these issues before being faced with decisions in the context of a public hearing.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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