White House Summit Focuses on Water

IAPMO CEO among participants in World Water Day discussions

With lead-tainted water on the minds of millions these days, leaders from around the nation will discuss ways to ensure everyone has sufficient access to water during Tuesday’s White House Water Summit on World Water Day in Washington, D.C., including Internationl Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) CEO Russ Chaney.

“It is a great honor to be recognized and invited to attend such an important meeting at the White House,” Chaney says. “World Water Day is an important day for everyone, and emphasizes the global importance of water. With IAPMO’s ever-increasing work, domestically and internationally, and with our partnerships with USAID and the Department of Commerce, we know intimately well the varying needs, from the small villages of Indonesia to those cities in the U.S. using IAPMO’s codes to protect and conserve water.”

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of priority water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future. The White House Water Summit brings together stakeholders from state, local, and tribal governments, as well as the public, private, academic, nonprofit and other sectors, to discuss approaches for ensuring that everyone in the nation has access to sufficient water when and where they need it. The event is being hosted to hear individual views from attendees.

The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22, 1993, as the first World Water Day. The day serves as an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference.

Each year, U.N. Water — the entity that coordinates the U.N.’s work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day that corresponds with a current or future challenge. This year’s theme is “Better Water, Better Jobs.”

IAPMO representatives will attend the Global Water Security Summit at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., which will feature a group of water-sector leaders, including Danilo Turk, former President of the Republic of Slovenia and Chairman of the U.N. Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace, and Gayle E. Smith, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

IAPMO also was invited to take part in the U.S. Water Partnership Global Partners Meeting at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., where over 100 Water Partnership colleagues will discuss organizational priorities and activities for 2016 and beyond. Each organization will deliver a presentation on its recent activity and goals moving forward.

World Water Day follows the March 11 observance of World Plumbing Day in which President Obama issued the following statement:

 “By developing creative and innovative methods to access safe, clean, and reliable water sources and environments, plumbers and other trained professionals are helping shape a healthier, more sustainable reality — on where a person’s circumstances do not limit their ability to make of their life what they will. This World Plumbing Day, let us recommit to building a world where people from all walks of life are afforded the basic rights they deserve as human beings.”

Research group takes on drought

As part of World Water Day, a public-private research collaboration supported by the U.S. Geological Survey began tackling how to best cope with the increasing droughts of the future.

The USGS, The Nature Conservancy and The Wildlife Conservation Society are launching the Ecological Drought Working Group as part of the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). The research group is composed of drought, climate change, economic and conservation experts from these and other institutions. The scientists will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the ecological impacts of drought on ecosystems and wildlife, and people and their livelihoods, as well as propose methods to lessen such impacts, both ecologically and economically. 

“The group’s findings will inform local communities, businesses and conservation practitioners about the most effective ways to prepare for and respond to drought impacts,” says Shawn Carter, senior scientist at the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and a co-lead of the working group.

Carter noted that both historical and recent droughts not only cause great economic hardships, but they also are often ecologically devastating. Droughts, which have ravaged much of the United States in recent years, are estimated to have resulted in more than $100 billion in damages between 1980 and 2000.

“Our work can help communities adapt to the long-term effects of drought by supporting healthy ecosystems,” Carter says. “For example, even a relatively simple action, such as reintroducing beavers into ecosystems where they used to live, can boost the natural storage capacity of watersheds.”


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