Ada L. Benavides
Authored by: Ada L. Benavides, Project Manager, Headquarters, United States Army Corps of Engineers

April 5, 2011

Management of the water resources of the United States is a complicated business. The States take the lead, but the Federal government has been involved nearly since its creation.

Some trite-but-true expressions are most meaningful today:

  • We suffer from information overload.
  • The Federal government is so fractured that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
  • We keep reinventing the wheel.
  • Federal data are just not readily available.
  • Technology transfer is a good thing, but too hard to do.
  • Knowledge is power, and we need it.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers heard these laments often from state and local water resources managers and others during its national assessment in 2008-2010 to explore ways to collaborate with States, interstate organizations, non-governmental organizations, and others to improve water resources planning and management and sustain critical water resources for the future. At regional conferences conducted as part of this process, the Corps received a strong call to make data and information about water resources more integrated and accessible. States indicated that they desire quantitative data about resources levels and conditions, increased monitoring to collect and evaluate such data, trend information, and technical expertise that they lack but know the Federal government possesses – especially to plan and manage their resources at a watershed scale.

A key recommendation of the Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future project, summarized in the national report Responding to National Water Resources Challenges (August 2010, visit the Report Website) was to move toward integrated water resources, specifically to assist states in collaborating with Federal agencies for more integrated management of water and related land resources.

This validated a previous recommendation the Corps made to create a data hub for information exchange and Federal support to address water needs across the nation. Theme 7 in the national report recommends Technology Transfer and Knowledge Capacity Building: Base the development of water resources plans and decision making upon good science and the sharing of information and technology. Increase scientific and management knowledge and technology/technological capabilities at all levels of government. Theme 4 meanwhile recommends that the Federal government Promote opportunities and mechanisms for collaborative water resources planning and management.

The Federal government plays a major role in supporting water resources planning and management. Federal agencies monitor, develop sound science and prediction models, make predictions, manage, conserve, regulate, protect, mitigate, restore, and handle emergency response and recovery planning and operations. Moreover, the Federal government possesses a myriad of expertise, knowledge, and experience to provide assistance for more integrated development and management of the nation’s public water resources. Since effective water management is a national imperative to provide for drinking, irrigation, and municipal and industrial use, protect life and property from flooding and droughts, support economic security through navigation, protect health and the environment, and mitigate the escalating risk of climate change and aging water infrastructure, it cannot be ignored.

A key outgrowth of the Corps’s National Report is the action to develop a Federal Support Toolbox for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to provide a single nationwide hub of data, information, models and other support assistance about water management that can be made accessible today across Federal resources agencies, State water resources officials and others managing water resources activities in the Nation. The objective of the Federal Support Toolbox for IWRM – Federal Toolbox or FTB – is to share a wealth of information and provide access to water resources research, technologies, tools, and experts. The FTB would include scientific and technical data and information, models and tools, planning and policy authorities, regulations, policies, guidelines, lessons learned and best management practices, including case studies about collaborative efforts and partnerships; as well as other reports and research. As a single identifiable repository for a tremendous amount of information housed in agency-specific systems and databases, the FTB holds the promise to become a system of knowledge and expertise that can be leveraged to augment the knowledge and capabilities of resource planners regionally and at state and local levels so as to close their information gaps.

Federal agencies themselves welcome the opportunity to begin sharing their information across agencies. Another 2009 Corps assessment of 12 Federal water resource agencies revealed the desire of these agencies to streamline access to Federal water resources capabilities; to share technology information, models, and best practices; to leverage resources more effectively; and to improve collaboration.

The availability of vetted, aggregated, organized, user-friendly, and accessible information in a Federal Toolbox should not only support enhanced technology transfer and knowledge capacity building about water issues, but also build a more solid foundation for water resources planning and decision making grounded in good science, information and technology sharing, technology development, and innovation. Water resources technical professionals and decision makers would have access to forecasts, integrated services, modeling at various geographic scales, cataloging of models and tools, and a compendium of best management practices. This powerful information system will also stimulate development of new constructs, models, and technologies to continue the process of knowledge capacity building, especially to help close information gaps for States, Tribes, localities, and interstate and non-governmental organizations.

Building the Federal Support Toolbox will take collaboration among Federal agencies; no single agency has the resources to create the Toolbox on its own. As collaborative partnerships are formed to access, analyze, and apply the data, information, and knowledge available from each agency, the potential for gaining insight, wisdom, and understanding about water resources needs, strategies, and solutions grows exponentially.

One very positive outcome of the Building Strong Collaborative Relationships initiative was the recognition that there is a strong building block for the FTB in the form of the Integrated Water Resources Science and Services system (IWRSS). IWRSS is a collaborative project already underway among the Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to create an interoperable scientific system for water resources management. IWRSS is dedicated to integrating water resources information and simplifying access to it, increasing the accuracy and timeliness of water information, and providing high-resolution information and forecasts for geography from summit to sea. Key to making this happen will be a strong participatory process to coordinate interagency activities toward common goals and to apply physical and social science strategies to deliver a responsive information system that meets stakeholder needs. Since the Building Strong Collaborative Relationships initiative, the Corps has worked to enhance the partnership with NOAA and the USGS and move the development of the Support Toolbox forward. The three agencies are about to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to solidify the Federal Support Toolbox development partnership.

Success in building the Federal Toolbox will require participation of key stakeholders inside and outside government, effective management, sufficient funding, and an implementation plan and schedule. The potential to have an accessible hub that connects the right and left hands of the Federal government’s water resources information databases; that reduces information overload but provides reliable, organized, comprehensive, and accessible information about the nation’s water and land resources in an integrated way; and that turns such information into powerful knowledge and support capabilities for the benefit of the Federal government, regional/state/local entities, universities, and the general public is becoming real. The Federal Support Toolbox promises to be a new business model for collaborative public water resources information and knowledge management in the 21st Century.

Brendan McGinnis
Authored by: Brendan McGinnis, Managing Partner, THG

March 10, 2011

In the fall of 2005, shortly after completing my Masters in Business Administration, I joined a small environmental non-profit in Arlington, VA, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation. Eager to apply my academic training to build the business case for sustainable practices, I spent the next two years focusing on a suite of international and domestic water and energy initiatives. During this time and the ensuing three years, I was fortunate to be closely involved in a number of collaborative efforts to ensure a more sustainable water future.

One experience that tested my basic understanding of water, energy, and the nexus between the two, was my involvement in the creation of a guidebook providing assistance to off-grid, rural health clinics in sub-Saharan Africa on how best to assess their electrification demands and determine feasible renewable energy alternatives. The effort, led by the Energy Team of the U.S. Agency for International Development and entitled, Powering Health: Electrification Options for Rural Health Centers, continues to be a timely and relevant resource. Upon reflection, the insight I gained truly helped to simplify the complexities of sustaining community energy and water systems.

My big take-away? That the water and energy conversation is inexorably linked. As water issues move into the mainstream, energy concerns cannot be pushed aside. Collaboration and interdependence when addressing the two is crucial.

Jumping ahead to the close of 2007, our nation will soon brace for the early stages of a recession. Gross deficits and ever-shrinking budgets result in the growing need for sensible, cost-effective solutions to address our most pressing environmental challenges – a combination of factors that led me to leave the non-profit and create a start-up environmental consulting group with a handful of colleagues and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Marianne Horinko. In January 2008, The Horinko Group becomes incorporated to service a variety of clients from Fortune 100 Corporations and law firm giants to small riverside communities and aspiring research and education institutions.

Much of my attention early on at the firm centered on assisting clients with better leveraging of resources through more active collaboration and creating a platform to educate and inclusively engage all stakeholders. I would soon become increasingly familiar with a number of our nation’s environmental cleanup and restoration efforts – the Lower Passaic River, Delaware Estuary, Lower Fox River, Kalamazoo River, and Upper Mississippi River Basin.

My bigger take-away? It’s all about water quality and water availability, and addressing each in a manner that is measurable, effective, and holistic.

In this vein, our group committed ourselves to moving the water conversation into the mainstream, launching The Horinko Group’s Water Division in 2009. With a charge to promote water resources sustainability through effective and integrated water resources management, we sought to provide a new context for thinking and problem solving.

Fast forward to April 2010, our group hosted its first Water Summit entitled, Sustaining Our Water Resources Through Collaboration, followed by quarterly roundtable discussions referred to as Water Salons. Each gathering convenes water leadership and senior practitioners from public and private organizations to delve deeper into our nation’s central and pressing water issues.

Reflecting and closely examining the proceedings from each of these past resource forums, it becomes evident to me that our nation is approaching a tipping point where collective resource interests and concerns can gain real traction and common direction. Released in January 2011, our Water Division authored a report entitled, Promoting the Sustainability of Our Nation’s Water Resources, outlining 10 Actionable Objectives for demonstrating near-term, scalable and system-based outcomes. Our belief being the integration of these components could evolve into a system-based, regionally governed and integrated platform of water resources stewardship.

Taking a closer look at a number of complimentary efforts that I feel add real value to the national water dialogue – the Corps of Engineers’ Responding to National Water Resources Challenges Report; EPA’s Healthy Watersheds Initiative; USDA’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative; American Water Resources Association’s National Water Vision Position Statement; Clean Water America Alliance’s Water National Policy Framework Discussion Draft; the Johnson Foundation’s Charting New Waters Report; and River Network’s The Way Forward Action Plan – I was greatly encouraged. These plans, when taken collectively, reveal a great deal of overlap and alignment among prominent stakeholders and leading thinkers. Perhaps these complex water problems are not beyond our collective reach to address.

My grand take-away? A sustainable water future for us all rests on an informed and engaged water resources community pulling in one direction with a good measure of common purpose and determination. We have a shared responsibility to move our society from being simple water users to becoming conscientious and well-informed water stewards.

As to what’s next, I have been working with the Water Resources Action Project as a founding member for over a year now. This DC-based non-profit seeks to improve public health and quality of life for under-served communities in the Middle East by bringing shared purpose and hope to address the growing water conflict. Working with partners in the community, I am excited to report that the group has completed its pilot project, a rain collection unit at the Sur Bahr Girls School in East Jerusalem, reducing the school’s municipal water costs. In May 2011, I will make a trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordan to scout additional schools. Stay tuned as I follow-up with a travel log of my journey.

On the home front, I am pleased to announce that The Horinko Group is planning its Second Annual Water Resources Summit entitled, Sustaining Our Nation’s Water Resources: Answering the Call for Stewardship, scheduled for October 25, 2011 at the University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union.

Looking even further ahead, I am eager for the scientific advancements to be applied, the collaboration we are capable of, the progress to come, and most of all, that I may play a small part along the way.

Patrick McGinnis
Authored by: Patrick McGinnis, Water Resoures Team Leader, THG and Formerly Supervisory Wildlife Biologist, Retired, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

February 18, 2011

I recently attended a public meeting concerning the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study. During the meeting stakeholders were informed the study would take four years. We will not see a final report until 2015.

Invasive species are a contagion, which appropriately concern numerous organizations, elected officials and the general public. We are told that invasives present a real threat to sustaining the natural capital of two nationally significant and iconic freshwater resources, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River systems. This is nothing new. The issue of invasives is a matter of public record. Federal and State biologists have been studying, reporting, and debating this matter for decades.

Now that this concern has taken on a new sense of urgency due to public outcry, politicians are identifying advantages to hydrologic separation between these two systems. Why, then, are we now being told that there is a necessity for four more years of paying salaries, attending meetings, performing studies, and planning before decisions can be made? How is it that after years of monitoring, regulatory coordination, and debated conservation strategies that we aren’t in a better position to mobilize with an incremental adaptive management approach? Isn’t it time for action?

I do not fault the program managers. They are institutionally ingrained to adhere to existing policy and process, and there seems to be too little incentive for innovation or efficiency. Our tax dollars have been carrying public sector program managers, engineers, scientists, and regulators for too many years for us to be in no better position than we find ourselves today. When you closely examine the real social costs of too much of what has happened in the name of economic progress on these two systems you realize that all the study and analyses that got us those developments didn’t account for much. I would argue that all the studies and analyses that have guided too many environmental restoration strategies and projects haven’t effectively informed outputs either. Too many outputs have not proven scalable, replicable, or even qualified as valid system restoration. As taxpayers, we should be better consumers and demand results for our dollars.

So many troubling uncertainties. Why would we think that four more years of head scratching is going to position us to arrive at the right solution? What sea change in thinking has occurred that will reverse the all too common piece-mealed effort that has been the hallmark of past practice? What leads us to believe lessons learned that should have us testing past assumptions and inefficiencies are going to create a course correction that commits us to a new way ahead that expects and realizes results driven success? Are these same practitioners capable of undertaking an effective, incremental adaptive management approach? Do existing policy and practice even promote system thinking?

Let’s commit to measurable results and spending limited financial resources more wisely. This time around, let’s “cap” the percentage of requested funds spent indirectly for salaries, overhead, and studies and thereby forces new practices that more quickly and flexibly produce tangible outputs on the ground. Then, let’s measure the performance of those outputs and adjust accordingly employing a reflective approach based on real responses to incremental outputs where informed management adjustments can be made based on real in situ observation, not based on more speculation and extrapolation. Let’s break the cycle of foot dragging and spit balling.

Looking at past federal environmental restoration programs, I suspect you will find 60% of taxpayers dollars spent on study and analysis, followed by over design. On this effort let’s agree to: 1) cap those expenditures at 35% for starters; and 2) produce a report in 18 months not four years.

We can begin tomorrow acting with purpose to solve this invasive problem. Let’s have the political will to focus on results and only results. Let’s demand greater accountability. Yes, this will put people to work but let’s do better. Let’s not create a jobs program; let’s create a results program.

As presented at the Clean Water America Alliance”s Water Policy Framework Meeting

Patrick McGinnis

Authored by: Patrick McGinnis, Water Resources Team Leader, THG

January 13, 2011

My name is Pat McGinnis; I recently wrapped up a 32-year career working as a Public Lands Manager and Administrator within the Federal Sector. The better part of that time was spent in the Mississippi River Valley focused on riparian public lands management for the US Army Corps of Engineers. I logged many hours working on the ground with our Federal and State counterparts, along side a variety of conservation groups, waterside communities, and NGOs pushing new ideas forward and seeing them realized.

In 2009, after retiring from federal service, I joined The Horinko Group; a small environmental consulting shop located here in DC, led by former EPA Acting Administrator, Marianne Horinko. Marianne and I share a mutual impatient optimism about the great things that good people can accomplish with the right tools and incentives.

My time in the public sector managing partnerships taught me a great deal about the nuances of cooperative undertakings, the need for transparency, accountability, the critical nature of honest, open communication, the need for building social relevance into large public sector initiatives, and the importance of demonstrating tangible results, replicating what works, and being persistent.

These experiences, of getting things done, of recognizing that everyone has a stake in our water future, are guiding The Horinko Group’s efforts today to engage the water conversation.

Before setting course, we asked ourselves – Could a small shop really add value to this national water dialogue?

In 2009, we committed ourselves to the overall effort of moving the water conversation more into the mainstream. Through our work with water sector clients we observed patterns emerging that suggested an integrated approach was more possible, practical and less complicated than many were proclaiming.

The Horinko Group brought together a group of colleagues to share their water stories and relate the barriers and opportunities expressed by water sector clients and subject matter experts. We set a goal for ourselves that we would not engage unless we could demonstrate and add value.

Initially, client interest had us focused on ecological services, the natural capital of aquatic systems, the infrastructure replacement backlog, and the desire to revitalize waterside communities to make them more livable. During our discussions we attempted to deconstruct a variety of water issues and in so doing a few common themes or needs emerged that seemed to cut cross or connect issues. These themes became early assumptions for us –

  • The lack of communication between decision-makers and practitioners could confound solutions to any given water issue;
  • Given the complexity and inter-jurisdictional nature of most water issues the need for collaboration and resource leveraging was imperative;
  • Securing our common water future was not so much a top-down or bottom-up thing, but was more of a horizontal thing…promoting inclusion, transparency, and interdependence.
  • If choices between polluting and stewarding happen locally, then civic engagement and social learning to better inform the water conversation is crucial. Traditional expressions of public involvement would not be enough, much broader and continuous civic engagement was called for to move us from being water users to becoming water stewards.
  • For watershed issues to matter on Main Street not only did the public need to be more aware of the problems but the solutions had to be couched in terms that were socially relevant. Addressing water issues had to be viewed as central to producing a more livable community;
  • Demonstrations that are replicable, scalable, and create expectations of what is possible could play a powerful role; and,
  • We saw an immediate need to stop the bleeding— too much activity is driven by incentives that encourage shortsighted non-sustainable outputs that carry a high social cost and far too little true return. Results-driven goals must be set, and incentives established, that further those results and only those results.

We also found ourselves attempting to address the often-confounding terminology of “water speak.” Terms like adaptive management, integrated water resources management, networked governance, system resilience, risk analysis, and performance measurement were regularly sucking the oxygen out of the room. As many grappled with their meaning and intent it became apparent that the question wasn”t just “what does this term mean,” but rather “what will this mean to me and my organization.” Too many discussions quickly led to posturing over new programs, new institutional arrangements, and the omen of even more layers of bureaucracy.

At The Horinko Group, we are strong believers in adaptive management principles and its incremental approach to addressing big problems. We felt that “demystifying” adaptive management and staying focused on “managing one water,” to borrow your Alliance’s tagline, while finding footholds for action within existing programs provided our best chance at identifying an early path forward with some assurance of early tangible results.

So, late in 2009, we crafted what turned out to be a draft Ten Point Plan that included what we saw as absolutes that demanded attention, what seemed possible, and where early outputs could be achieved.

We also tried to account for a variety of nuanced factors that weren”t getting enough attention – the underlying influencers at the root of many of our water issues. Water quality and water availability kept coming back as central attributes that we felt had to stay in sharp focus.

While others, with good reason, focused on infrastructure and regulatory enforcement, we opted to direct our narrative toward source protection, source control incentives, and overall system stewardship.

Regarding the infrastructure backlog, and I think this is a very important point, during my Federal career I watched time after time as the project delivery culture of the Corps tried to communicate the value of individual projects it was advancing without first communicating the function and values of the aquatic ecosystems it was applying these projects to. Here’s the lesson – How on earth can we expect citizens to really assess the value of the part and judge the value of its contribution without first understanding something about the whole?

It was this reality that partly shaped our commitment to underscore the importance of social capital and raising system awareness to create a context where communities could begin to fully appreciate the importance of proper valuation of water, the urgency of infrastructure challenges and water conservation, and the dilemma that non-point pollution presents. But again, before you can ever convince someone of the system added value of a single output you have to first explain the value and functionality of the system.

Having seen great examples of collaboration and progress being made at both ends of the spectrum, from small rural communities to Fortune 500 corporations, we were encouraged that these complex problems were not beyond our collective reach to address – perhaps naively, we thought, “this shouldn”t be this hard.” There are good things happening out there and so a part of the effort for us became effectively calling attention to best practices and collaborative models demonstrating outputs that could prove to be replicable, scalable, and reveal principles of adaptive management.

Several agencies and non-for-profits were already actively working to put forth and test their own national water policy or agenda documents. We felt our approach was not the only approach and certainly not the most encompassing, but we were confident that a significant measure of what we had identified could prove doable. We didn”t want our efforts to compete, but rather complement and align with the efforts of others including the work of the Alliance, the American Water Resource Association, and The Johnson Foundation, to call out those we view being among the most thoughtful.

Having crafted our 10-point plan, we agreed to commit our energy, enthusiasm, and a good portion of our 2010 marketing budget, to stir the water conversation and gain feedback on the assumptions we had made in our draft action plan.

To do this we designed a series of events to afford us the opportunity to engage others, not to discuss our plan, but rather discuss the principles it was based on and to listen. We designed and hosted a Summit in April of last year, followed by a series of quarterly water resource focused salons, and a series of water resource themed webinars. On World Water Day in March of last year, we also launched our Water Division Webpage to call attention to our philosophy and vision, our intentions for 2010, and events and activities of others in the water sector. We also wanted a place where we could post our progress and findings, allowing others to track the conversation.

The focus of our April Summit became connecting Water Leaders Across Watersheds. Peter Silva, heading up EPA’s Office of Water, and Terrence (Rock) Salt, serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Works for the Corps, opened the proceedings that included three lively panel discussions, one on the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order, one on the role of collaboration and civic engagement in sustaining the Mississippi River, and one which provided a federal sector perspective on the future of integrated water resources management.

We then followed the summit with a three-part water resources salon series. The function of these salons was to bring together small groups of practitioners, program managers, and thought leaders to address very specific factors affecting our stewardship of water. The salon format allowed the participants to deconstruct issues into problem statements and then brainstorm opportunities for problem solving and next steps.

Our first salon focused on communication between practitioners and decision makers, and was moderated by University of Maryland Professor Dr. Gerry Galloway and Bob Petrowski, Director of the Institute for Water Resources. Our next salon focused on Networks, Coalitions, and the Role of Social Capital in Water Resources Management, and was led by Professor Stephen Gasteyer of Michigan State University, and our third salon addressed engaging the public for river sustainability and livable communities and was led by Todd Ambs, President of the River Network and Anne Lewis founder of Php Aide America’s Waterway.

These roundtable discussions proved to be a collegial and non-threatening forum for convening subject matter experts and program managers to discuss in greater detail significant and nagging barriers to collaboration, civic engagement, and support for new approaches to old challenges.

In 2010, we also hosted a three-part water focused Webinar Series that opened with a session addressing an ongoing collaborative effort that is restoring riparian forests along the upper Mississippi River, where on-the-ground practitioners discussed their work and their vision. Our second webinar dealt with new applications and approaches to civic engagement and its importance and included a great line-up headed by CEQ’s Robyn Colosimo. We finished up the year with a session on, Engaging the Next Generation of Water Leaders that showcased an exciting collaborative effort to reach an urban K-12 population in the greater St. Louis area that includes 500,000 students with a strong water message tied to civic leadership. The webinars were well attended and the feedback we received suggested they were greatly appreciated.

Certainly, an expected and realized benefit of hosting these events were their value in allowing us to test and refine many of the assumptions we made in our original draft action plan.

I should note that the proceedings from the summit and salons, as well as the audio recordings from the webinars are all posted on The Horinko Group’s website.

Over the past two months, we further refined our draft 10-point plan document and sent it out to a number of colleagues for informal peer review. We also conducted a number of interviews about specific objectives in the plan and how they might be advanced in 2011 and have now finalized the document, entitled, Promoting the Sustainability of Our Nation’s Water Resources, which can be downloaded from The Horinko Group’s website.

Our plan is really an aggregate of 10 actionable recommendations. Its focus is on system stewardship, the value of demonstrating new water resource outputs on public and private lands, of encouraging source protection and control through collaboration, better integration of existing programs, creating appropriate incentives, and utilizing social capital to move individual behavior toward a culture of stewardship.

Our goal was to create something actionable in the near-term and to foster a sense of urgency and opportunity for putting measurable results on the ground as a catalyst for broader and larger contributions by local and regional actors.

It was designed to quickly lead to discussions on how parts or all of it could be applied to regional systems.

There are familiar themes that are called out in our plan. To quickly summarize, we are calling for:

  • Integration of federal programs, while calling attention to programs with promise like USDA and EPA’s Healthy Watershed Initiatives and the Department of Interior’s Landscape Conservation Cooperative, as well as the Corps’ Planning Assistance Federal Tool Box.
  • Expanded authority to add water quality to the project authorization of existing Corps water resource projects and recommending that the Corps’ Planning Principles and Guidelines fully account for the social costs of local public works projects.
  • A recommitment to National Flood Insurance Reform so that sanity can be restored to floodplain management.
  • Retooling of the next Farm Bill to incentivize sustainable practices in ways that work for farmers, taxpayers, and our nation’s water resources.
  • New approaches to increasing civic awareness and increasing watershed literacy facilitating a more informed water conversation.
  • Ways to connect water issues to community livability and communicating at the grassroots level so that more of us make an emotional connection to water and see the social relevance of water conservation.
  • Using nature-based tourism as a mechanism for waterside communities to diversify their economies while recognizing the natural capital of the systems they are reconnecting with.
  • And lastly, an important consideration also became calling attention to best practices and replicable scalable models. Practitioners operating on the ground must have a platform to effectively communicate their successes with decision-makers here inside the beltway.

We have not turned our back on pressing infrastructure needs nor have we moved away from the need for regulatory programs that work. But for these water sector needs to become socially appreciated and relevant, their importance needs to be more effectively demonstrated and communicated – this is where we are putting our emphasis and call for early outputs.

During 2011 we intend to:

Continue our outreach activities with an expanded salon and webinar series culminating in a year-end summit tentatively scheduled for November.

Continue to call attention to the good work of others and facilitate the export of their best practices.

Ramp up our efforts to engage others and look for synergy and alignment of purpose to advance the water conversation and most importantly to help those that are attempting to put results on the ground.

And lastly, offer our assistance to agencies and other NGOs that are attempting to advance their own efforts to produce sustainable outcomes and secure our water future.

We hope you will each take a moment to study our approach. We are working at the community level and there is a great deal of energy and untapped capacity out there. We simply need a convergence of effort. We hope to hear from you if we can be of assistance and add our voice to yours.