Municipal Water Leader
  • Innovator

    Water Bottle Fill Stations as Public Outreach Lessons From Eastern Municipal Water District

    Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) provides water, wastewater, and recycled water services to more than 816,000 people in Riverside County, California. EMWD is the sixth-largest retail water agency in the state of California. More than a decade of California water industry survey data suggest a strong correlation between the value that customers place on water with their acceptance of water infrastructure project expenses, rate increases, and other management decisions. Customer approval is extremely important in EMWD’s service area, where demographics are diverse and people tend to be more cost-sensitive than the statewide average. With an eye toward boosting customer approval, EMWD developed the Tap Into campaign to support its goals…

  • Innovator,  Interview

    A Burst of Innovation Charles Otis of Pulsed Burst Systems

    Pulsed Burst Systems is a Milwaukee-based startup that has developed a simple yet effective device called the MegaBubble that creates large air bubbles that can be used to mix large quantities of water or even pump water through a pipe. With help from The Water Council in Milwaukee and its BREW business accelerator program, Pulsed Burst is finding potential clients across the country, including wastewater treatment plants and municipal water districts. Charles Otis, chief operating officer of Pulsed Burst Systems, spoke with Municipal Water Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about his background in the water industry, his company, and what the U.S. water industry could do to boost innovation.

  • Photo portrait of Congressman Bill Shuster

    WRDA Works for America’s Water Infrastructure

    On October 23, 2018, the president signed into law the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a legislative package that features the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018. The enactment of WRDA 2018 marked the third such bill signed into law since I became chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in 2013. I am particularly proud of the fact that one of my earliest priorities as chairman—returning Congress to the regular consideration of a WRDA every 2 years—came to fruition over the last 6 years. These laws authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study and undertake infrastructure enhancements that strengthen our economy, connect and protect our…

  • Innovator

    Pipe Trek: Deep Trekker’s Hi-Tech Inspection Robots

    Every man-made structure eventually wears out. Municipal pipelines—some of which are more than 100 years old—are no exception. As infrastructure ages, the risk of breaks, cracks, and leaks grows. By conducting frequent routine inspections, cities and municipalities can discover issues before they become serious problems. To make sure that their pipelines meet regulatory requirements and performance standards, cities and municipalities are turning to trenchless technology, including pipe crawlers. Deep Trekker is one company that is developing new ways to make inspections simple, efficient, and more cost effective. Deep Trekker’s pipe crawlers are portable robotic systems with onboard cameras that allow for regular maintenance and inspections on pipes 6 inches in…

  • Innovator

    QuakeWrap’s Futuristic Materials Are Reshaping Pipe Manufacturing

    Mo Ehsani, PhD, PE, SE, the president of QuakeWrap, is on a mission to help irrigators in the United States combat the aging of their infrastructure and use new technologies to advance their water delivery potential. Dr. Ehsani was a professor of civil engineering at the University of Arizona when he began his pioneering work with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) technology in the late 1980s. FRP is composed of a polymer (such as epoxy, vinyl ester, or polyester) that is reinforced with a fiber (such as carbon, glass, Kevlar, or basalt). The fiber is the main source of strength and stiffness for FRP. In the most commonly used application of FRP,…

  • Photo portrait of Congresswoman Doris Matsui

    Building a Flood Control System for the 21st Century Congresswoman Doris Matsui

    Managing water in the West is a balancing act. It requires great coordination between our water resources managers and our flood control managers. While the water resources managers must carefully maximize water allocations each year, flood control managers must prepare for worst-case flood scenarios. In California’s Sacramento Valley, we are blessed with rivers and tributaries that provide a multitude of benefits to our agricultural, municipal, and industrial users. Those same rivers, though, can deliver a torrent of flood water in a very short time frame. That is why our region has had and will continue to have a laser-like focus on raising the level of the Sacramento region’s flood protection.…

  • News

    Sustainable Resource Management in San Antonio

    At the spot where water from the San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) Dos Rios Water Recycling Center cascades 50 feet down into the river, a visitor from a group of international guests gently wept. When asked if everything was alright, he nodded. “I’m ok,” the visitor said. “It’s just that in my country, we don't even have water like this to drink. And here you can just send it into the river.” The group had come because they heard that Dos Rios, SAWS’s largest water recycling center, is the place to learn about sustainable resource management in wastewater. As Texans are prone to brag, the Dos Rios staff will boast…

  • News

    Getting to Yes on Flood Protection A Case Study in Army Corps 408 Permitting

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Nebraska’s Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (P-MRNRD) share a common goal of preventing loss of life and property through effective floodplain management. However, while trying to achieve this critical goal, both organizations found themselves struggling to effectively work through a permission process required to perform federally mandated enhancements to existing levees on the Missouri River to ensure public safety during a flooding event. In 2006, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), operating under the Flood Map Modernization Presidential Initiative, began to remap the Missouri River floodplains and update the base flood elevations to ensure sufficient freeboard for 100-year flood protection. During the process,…

  • Water Law

    Expedited Permitting to Save the Louisiana Coast A Case Study

    Louisiana’s vast coastal wetlands are unique in our nation and have been a great resource for the state’s residents and its diverse coastal wildlife. In recent times, however, it has become apparent that they are prized for something more important—safety. Coastal wetlands reduce the negative effects of storm surges that hit where people live, like New Orleans. Scientists estimate that a storm surge loses 1 foot of height for every mile of wetlands it crosses. We saw the effect of lost wetlands when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 with a much higher storm surge than would have occurred if Louisiana had not seen a substantial decline of its…

  • Photo of Maui, Hawaii coastline
    Water Law

    An Indirect Regulation of Groundwater A Look at Hawai'i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui

    On February 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, No. 15-17447 (9th Cir. Feb. 1, 2018). The court held that the County of Maui (County) is required to obtain a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit to dispose of recycled water via discharge into groundwater that is hydrologically connected to the ocean. The case has broad implications for water supply and wastewater treatment agencies across the West because it would require certain types discharges to groundwater to be regulated under the CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)—thereby importing all the CWA’s surface water–related…