A large water provider like Arizona’s Salt River Project (SRP) uses canals to get water from storage facilities to users. That seems simple enough, but it is only half the story. This month’s issue of Municipal Water Leader brings you the other half. In our cover interview with SRP Manager of Field Consulting Services Jim Duncan, we explore how SRP uses its canals for public art and events, recreation, and historical commemoration. Then, in an interview with SRP’s Elvy Barton and Bruce Hallin, we learn how the agency is cooperating with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation to actively manage the forests in its watersheds to protect its water quality. Finally, we speak with Lynn Allen and Stephanie Berry about how a group of SRP employees is walking all 131 miles of SRP’s main canals, learning more about their history and operations along the way. From the remote forests where SRP’s water begins to the exciting events along its canal banks, SRP’s story goes far beyond getting water from point A to point B. 

This month’s Municipal Water Leader also highlights a number of important water and wastewater projects. Michael Watts, the water reuse practice leader for Garver, tells us about the $700,000 grant that Garver and the City of Norman, Oklahoma, received to study an inland indirect potable reuse water source. Malcolm Parker of the City of Garland, Texas, tells us about how the Rowland Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was upgraded to expand its capacity and to reduce odors for the rapidly multiplying subdivisions north of Dallas. And Jody Zabolio of Texas’s Upper Trinity Regional Water District tells us about another recently expanded wastewater treatment plant that is using ballasted flocculation technology to treat water more quickly and efficiently. 

Finally, we speak with Jennifer Bowles, the executive director of the Water Education Foundation, about her organization’s tours, conferences, and publications and the fairhandedness that makes the foundation the Switzerland of the California water world. 

From the watershed to the customer, our nation’s municipal water agencies are improving their services, increasing efficiency, and stewarding the natural environment. Many are also realizing that their infrastructure—particularly outdoor conveyance structures— provides great opportunities for public engagement and recreation. I hope that this issue of Municipal Water Leader helps you imagine the possibilities that await your own agency or company. 

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and 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 may be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.