The Power of Creative Thinking

By Kris Polly 

Climatic phenomena, project constraints, and environmental and water quality regulations—these issues and many more pose constant challenges to municipal water agencies across the United States. Luckily, professionals in our field are always thinking of new ways to address them. In this issue, we feature stories of long-term planning, value engineering, integrated planning, new digital services, and other creative approaches to the challenges of the municipal water field. 

As a junior holder of Colorado River water rights in Arizona, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) is one of the entities most affected by the recent cuts in Colorado River water deliveries. In a cover interview with Municipal Water Leader Contributing Editor Jeff Kightlinger, CAP General Manager Ted Cooke tells us about the water conservation efforts of the Drought Contingency Plan and the 500+ Plan and discusses the efforts that will be needed in the future, including new agreements, adaptive management, and the identification of new water supplies. 

The Missouri-based firm Strategic Value Solutions (SVS) is in the business of value engineering—a fascinating discipline that uses out-of-the-box thinking to save organizations time and money. Principal and Executive Vice President John Robinson explains how, by bringing a team of senior-level subject-matter experts together in a workshop format to challenge clients’ project assumptions, constraints, and criteria, SVS can identify new solutions to the problems clients are trying to solve. 

Leslie Tice, the national environmental director of HDR’s water business group, also seeks to save clients time and money by changing their thinking. By addressing environmental work early and integrating it into the standard planning process, clients can avoid costly delays and the need to backtrack. 

A&W Coatings recently rehabilitated a large, corroded service water pipe at International Paper’s Mansfield Mill. Project Engineer Nick Lehnhoff tells us about how A&W used Warren Environmental epoxy to repair the pipe and rapidly return it back to service. 

120Water provides cloud-based software and digital sampling kits to help utilities across the nation execute water safety, compliance, and wastewater monitoring programs. We speak with cofounder and CEO Megan Glover about the company’s business model and services. 

Delivering clean, high-quality drinking and service water while also protecting the environment involves many challenges. The creative thinking of the water professionals we feature this month, however, is strong evidence that we can and will continue to face up to them. 

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