The water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, is a very serious, complicated matter involving government leaders and agencies at all levels of government. As more information is made available, no doubt there will be critical lessons learned.
What we know now is that this crisis is a painful reminder of how important it is for local leaders to take the time to review and update their water policies. Below are four ways to approach water supply management, to ensure your community’s water is safe and that the community is well informed should an emergency occur.
Decaying water infrastructure and the need to build additional infrastructure has created a great opportunity for local leaders to install a more sustainable water system. Sustainability not only creates a better system for your local environment, but it also ensures the efficient use of your local water supply. Learn more about developing a sustainable water infrastructure by checking out the article in the APWA (American Public Works Association) Reporter.
Preparation: Emergency Water Supply
Every local leader tries to avoid water emergencies, but it’s important to prepare your community for the worst. An emergency water supply is one of the best tools to help your community sustain a water emergency. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) developed this guide back in 2011 to help local water utilities develop an emergency water supply plan. Another method is providing information to your citizens on how to properly establish an in-home emergency water supply. Florence, South Carolina, for example, published tips on managing one’s water supply on their webpage.
Increase Your “Water Knowledge”
Water management is a complex and ever-changing topic. To help you stay updated and build your knowledge base, the AWWA (American Water Works Association) has identified 20 different topic areas one should consider when thinking about water. Explore their Water Knowledge site to discover resources on topics like asset management, stormwater, desalination, and more.
Citizens: Engage and Educate
When reviewing and updating any policy, citizen education and engagement need to be a prime focus. Having an open line of dialogue with your residents is especially important when you’re making and communicating about changes. Fortunately, technology has made this task easier. Take Phoenix, Arizona, for example. Local leaders in Phoenix partnered with Arizona State University to develop WaterSim 5.0, a tool to help educate citizens about water supply and demand.
Find additional Knowledge Network resources by exploring the topic pages on Water & Sanitation, Sustainability, Resilience, and Emergencies & Disasters.