Water Sector Leaders Continue Great Water Cities Discussion in New Orleans

September 22, 2015

Featured, WEF Resources & Efforts

Water sector leaders talk during a panel at the Great Water Cities Summit. Photo courtesy of Dave Aleman.

Water sector leaders talk during a panel at the Great Water Cities Summit. Photo courtesy of Dave Aleman.

A total of 96 water sector leaders gathered at Tulane University in New Orleans for the second Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Great Water Cities Summit, July 21–22.

Attendees at Great Water Cities Summit 2015: Collaborating for a Resilient Future discussed such topics as

  • collaboration within the water sector,
  • managing water during extreme conditions,
  • workforce development and economics, and
  • innovation and investment at the .

The summit, hosted by WEF, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, and Greater New Orleans Inc., featured panel discussions, networking sessions, a luncheon, and roundtable discussions.

Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, said, “We need to be bold and visionary when financing the infrastructure of tomorrow,” and while “politics plays a role in change versus no change” we need to keep moving forward.

Kyle Graham, executive director of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (Baton Rouge, La.), speaks during a Great Water Cities Summit luncheon. Photo courtesy of Aleman.

Kyle Graham, executive director of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (Baton Rouge, La.), speaks during a Great Water Cities Summit luncheon. Photo courtesy of Aleman.

One roundtable, for example, focused on utility networking and knowledge transfer to ensure resilience. Led by Scott Haskins, senior vice president and director of strategic consulting at CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.), utility representatives discussed how they use blue-ribbon panels, local and national conferences and workshops, utility visits, and sector research projects to increase knowledge transfer and improve resilience.

 

Speakers featured at the summit included

  • Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans,
  • David Waggonner, president of Waggonner & Bell Architects (New Orleans),
  • Kyle Graham, executive director of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (Baton Rouge, La.)
  • Robin Barnes, executive vice president and COO of Greater New Orleans Inc., and
  • Andrew Richardson, CEO of Greeley and Hansen LLC (Chicago.)
Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, talks during the summit. Photo courtesy of Aleman.

Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, talks during the summit. Photo courtesy of Aleman.

The summit is part of a series of Great Water Cities discussions, which explore lessons learned from cities’ experiences with water sector challenges and the steps they are taking to embrace the future of water management. The insight potentially could change the agenda for other cities facing similar challenges. This series of dialogues includes the WEFTEC Water Leaders Session where the themes and ideas of the summit will continue to be discussed.

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