Words on Water Focuses on Puerto Rico, Technology, Workforce, and Outreach

Water sector thought-leaders share insight on a variety of topics through the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Words on Water podcast series. Stream these episodes online and download audio files on iTunes and the Android Words on Water app.

Recent episodes feature:

  • Melissa Pomales, water program management leader for Arcadis (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), describes the estimated $700 million in damages to Puerto Rico’s water infrastructure from Hurricane Maria as well as the opportunity to rebuild with resilience to sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and stronger storms.
  • Paul O’Callaghan, founder of BlueTech Research (Cork, Ireland) and CEO of O2 Environmental (Vancouver, British Columbia), gives his unique insights on water technology innovations. He discusses the connection between technology and economy, the rate-of-change in the water sector, and how the sector fares in comparison to traditional success/failure rates in venture capital.
  • Tony Parrott, executive director of the Louisville (Ky.) and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, discusses how operations and capital programs of U.S. water utilities generate $550 billion in economic activity and the need for U.S. Congress to fund infrastructure and workforce packages. He highlights efforts in Louisville to include small and minority-owned businesses in contracts, promote job opportunities for local projects, and address affordability of water bills.
  • John Albert, chief research officer for the Water Research Foundation (Denver), discusses the recent merger of two nonprofit research organizations and the new focus areas of water research including the workforce of the future, rate affordability, emerging contaminants, and transformative technology.
  • Robert Puente, president and CEO of the San Antonio (Texas) Water System, explains the utility’s reputation for water efficiency and conservation. He also touches on the utility’s 11-ft model of a low-flow toilet, competition for water resources in Texas, and the monitoring of aquifers and building of a desalination plant.
  • Alan Heymann, president of Blue Drop (Washington, D.C.) and chief marketing officer for DC Water (Washington, D.C.), shares the origin story of a nonprofit affiliate of a water utility as well as the benefits and challenges of being attached to a public water utility. He also details how Blue Drop may evolve in size and scope in the future.
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