Municipal Water Leader
  • 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…

  • Photo of the Big Dam Bridge in North Little Rock, Arkansas

    Innovative Financing Is Key to Improving, Upgrading, and Investing in Our Water Infrastructure

    Access to safe, clean water is critical to the livelihood of every American. It’s important that we continue to prioritize infrastructure improvements in order to provide citizens with reliable and safe drinking water and effective wastewater and stormwater treatment. As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I participated in the two hearings held this year on the needs and challenges of our nation’s water infrastructure. As we work to craft and pass a new Water Resources Development Act, we are examining the state of our water infrastructure nationwide. As you’re likely well aware, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our nation’s drinking water infrastructure a…

  • News

    Facilitating Flood Control in Kansas City The Turkey Creek Project

    Twenty years in the making, Kansas City’s Turkey Creek Flood Control Project is marking the beginning of its last phase this year. The project addresses a flood -prone area adjacent to Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Kansas River that runs through the southwestern side of the city and Wyondotte County near Interstate 35 and Southwest Boulevard. Every 3–5 years, the businesses and homes in the creek’s corridor flood—in 1998, a flood overtopped Interstate 35 and caused millions of dollars in damage. Having identified the flooding issues in the corridor, Kansas City, Missouri, and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…

  • News

    McCook Reservoir Reaping the Benefits of a Long-Term Investment

    In early January, a winter rain brought an inch of precipitation to Chicago’s already-snow-covered yards and streets. The otherwise unremarkable rain marked an important stage in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD) Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP): For the first time, stormwater entered MWRD’s McCook Reservoir on Chicago’s southwestern side. McCook Reservoir is more than 45 years in the making as a critical component of the TARP, MWRD’s long-term combined sewer overflow control plan. Phase 1 of the plan involved constructing 109 miles of deep tunnels and more than 400 drop shafts to capture combined sewer overflow near the Des Plaines and Chicago Rivers before it gets…