Volume 11 Issue 5 May

Future-Proofing Our Water Supply

By Kris Polly

For the past 20 years, the Tucson area’s Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District has been planning for the future by storing excess Central Arizona Project (CAP) water underground for future use. Today, the district is benefiting from those reserves and dedicating its CAP water to the goals of the multistate Drought Contingency Plan. General Manager Joseph Olsen tells us more about Metro Water’s water portfolio and the major project it’s undertaking to hydrologically link its underground storage with the area where its main demand is.

Next, we speak with General Manager Mark Toy of Yorba Linda Water District (YLWD), which serves 80,000 people in Southern California. In 2021, YLWD partnered with another local agency to build the nation’s largest ion-exchange water treatment plant to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contaminants from its groundwater supplies. It also has built Heli-Hydrants where firefighting helicopters can tank up with water.

In-Pipe Energy is actualizing a simple yet revolutionary idea: turning the excess pressure in water delivery systems into energy rather than just blowing it off. With its HydroXS modular energy recovery system, the company is making this Idea a reality for water utilities. Founder and CEO Gregg Semler tells us more.

It deals with money rather than water, but accounting, as any utility manager could tell you, is needed to make sure that the wet stuff continues to flow. Michael Pruet of WAC Solution Partners tells us about the company’s WACUtility enterprise resource planning software and how the company customizes the software for water utilities.

Then, we speak with Jim Knepper, the president of Jacobi Carbons, about the company’s activated carbon and ion-exchange solutions for removing contaminants from water, as well as about the sustainable coconuts it uses to source its carbon.

NPDESPro has incorporated storm water expertise into the software it has created to help utilities comply with National Pollution Discharge Elimination System regulations. Founder and Owner Jeff McInnis tells us more about this specialized product.

The National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) hub for R&D into the water-energy nexus, desalination, water reuse, and related issues. We interview Avi Shultz, the director of DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, about NAWI’s important work to make desalination and water reuse more efficient and less costly.

Finally, we speak with Bruno Pigott, the acting assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about the Office of Water’s new PFAS regulation, its lead and copper pipe rule, and other priorities.

By conserving water, building new systems for removing contaminants of emerging concern, tightening up administrative operations, and saving energy, the water industry leaders we profile this month are future-proofing our water supply. I hope you find their words insightful and informative.

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.