Volume 10 Issue 2 February

Bringing Local, State, and Federal Resources to Bear on Water Management Issues

By Kris Polly

Getting federal funds for a project, no matter how important, is no easy task. Showing up in Washington, DC, and making a successful pitch is more easily said than done. That’s why I think readers will find our cover interview with Oregon State Representative David Gomberg especially interesting. Representative Gomberg describes how he helped the City of Newport, Oregon, make a request for federal funding for a dam replacement project through the Water Resources Development Act of 2022. Crucially, the city and state had already committed funds to the project, and city and state officials, including Representative Gomberg, had long-standing relationships with key federal legislators.

North Dakota’s Devils Lake presents a unique water management situation. With no natural outlet, its size fluctuates based on medium- and long-term weather cycles. Over the last quarter-century, the lake level has risen significantly, leading to an ongoing flooding emergency in the nearby city of Devils Lake that the city, the state, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have spent over $1 billion to address. We speak with four water management professionals to learn more.

Next, we look at an initiative aimed at using software to make data more manageable. Tony Willardson, the executive director of the Western States Water Council, tells us about the forthcoming Western States Water Data Access and Analysis Tool (WestDAAT), which will streamline the sharing of water data for western states.

Dr. Beth C. Fleming, the deputy director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), tells us about how the work she oversees helps bridge the gap between the Army Corps and the municipal water industry. Much of the research and development work of the ERDC stands to benefit the industry, including work on materials, robotics, and predictive modeling.

Varuna is a company that provides hardware and software solutions both for the real-time monitoring of municipal water systems and for risk and resilience assessments and planning. We speak with Lead Technical Program Manager Jean-Pierre Nshimyimana to learn more.

When the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility (OBRF) in Chander, Arizona, found itself dealing with shutdowns caused by lime buildup in a settling tank, it opted for a Xylem adaptive mixer to solve the problem. Xylem Business Development Manager Michele Braas tells us about OBRF’s solution and about Xylem’s other products.

Figuring out how to bring local, state, and federal funds to bear on critical infrastructure projects is a challenging but extremely important endeavor. I hope that reading our interviews this month with municipal water leaders around the nation will help you build your strategies for funding your next big project. Water Strategies is always happy to share our insights on pursuing federal funding for municipal water entities. There are several ways to be successful, but the key is using your time wisely. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions or need assistance.

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and the president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He can be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.